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Ram Kishun Tandon Vs. Officer in Charge Central Bank of India Ltd., Muthiganj Branch, Allahabad and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 1087 of 1956
Judge
Reported inAIR1958All413
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Industrial Disputes (Banking Companies) Decisions Act, 1955
AppellantRam Kishun Tandon
RespondentOfficer in Charge Central Bank of India Ltd., Muthiganj Branch, Allahabad and anr.
Appellant AdvocateS.C. Khare, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
(i) labour and industrial - disciplinary action against bank employee - sastri award - disciplinary action against the employee after his acquittal from the criminal court is not prohibited by the sastri award. (ii) constitution - writ of mandamus - article 226 of constitution of india - imposition of a duty by a statute in question - essential for an order of issue of mandamus for the enforcement of a statutory right - industrial disputes (banking companies) decisions act, 1955 - act by itself does not create any statutory obligation against any person - writ of mandamus not appropriate. - - 41 of 1955. section 3 of the act lays down that the appellate decision shall have effect subject to the modification recommended by the bank award commission......a criminal court.7. mr. s. n. verma, on the other hand, relies upon paragraph 521 of the sastri awards paragraph 521 of the award ran thus:''a person against whom disciplinary actions is proposed or likely to be taken should, in the first instance, be informed of the particulars of the charge against him;...... ... with this objectin view we give the following directions: .............................................................. (2) (a) when in the opinion of the management an employee has comitted an offence....... the bank may take steps to prosecute him....... . (c) if he be acquitted, it shall be open to the management to proceed against him under the provisions set out below in sub-paragraphs (9) and (10) infra relating to discharges.......' sub-paragraphs (9) and (10) of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

V.G. Oak, J.

1. This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution for the issue of writs of mandamus and certiorari. Ram Kishun Tandon petitioner was employed as a cashier in the Central Bank of India Ltd., Mutthigunj Branch, Allahabad. The Officer-in-charge, Central Bank of India Ltd., Mutthigunj Branch, Allahabad and the Chief Agent, Central Bank of India, Kanpur are the two opposite parties in this petition.

2. The petitioner's case is that in September 1954, the Bank levelled against the petitioner charges of criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of money. The petitioner was suspended from service. The petitioner was also prosecuted in the criminal court under Section 408, I. P. C. But the criminal court acquitted the petitioner on 30-9-1955. In spite of the acquittal from the criminal court, the Bank is taking departmental action against the petitioner in order to dismiss him from service. Such departmental action is prohibited under the law.

The reason is that certain industrial disputes were, at one time, referred to an Industrial Tribunal commonly known as Sastri Tribunar That Tribunal gave an award recommending that, departmental action should not be taken after acquittal by criminal courts. There was a subsequent award by another Tribunal presided over by Sri Gajendragadkar. These two awards were enforced by the Industrial Disputes (Banking Companies) Decisions Act 1955 (Central Act No. 41 of 1955). So the proposed departmental action against the petitioner is illegal.

3. The opposite parties have opposed this petition on the ground that, departmental action is not prohibited. The petitioner has filed an affidavit in support of his petition. One L. N. Varshney, Offtcer-in-charge of the Central Bank of India Ltd., Mutthigunj Branch, Allahabad has filed a counter-affidavit.

4. The first point for consideration is whether the departmental action against the petitioner is with respect to the same matter, for which he was prosecuted in the criminal court. The judgment of the criminal court shows that the charge against Ram Kishun Tandon was that he committed criminal breach, of trust with respect to a sum of Rs. 8,520/-. The judgment of the learned Assistant Sessions Judge, Allahabad is dated 30-9-1955. Prior to the decision by the criminal court some departmental action was taken against the petitioner. On 30-9-1954 the petitioner was called upon to submit his explanation about the shortage of a sum of Rs. 8,520/-. That note is annexure 'A' to the petition.

Annexure 'B' dated 14-10-1954 is a note prepared by the Chief Agent, Kanpur. In annexure 'B' it was stated that, Sri Tandon misappropriated a sum of Rs. 8,520/-. Annexure 'C' is an explanation furnished by the petitioner. Annexure 'D' dated 28-10-1955 is the order of the Chief Agent directing that the petitioner will continue to remain under suspension in spite of the acquittal by the criminal court. Annexure 'E' dated 9-1-1956 is a note by the Sub-Agent calling upon the petitioner to show cause why his service should not be dispensed with. Annexure 'E' also repeats the charge of misappropriation of a sum of Rs. 8,520/-.

5. In paragraph 6 of the counter-affidavit it is stated:

'Apart from the charges of criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust there is also a charge of gross misconduct on the part of the petitioner.'

But the counter-affidavit does not give any details of the alleged misconduct apart from the misappropriation of money. In the last paragraph of Annexure 'E' the Sub-Agent wrote: 'The Bank has full liberty to dispense with his service on grounds of gross misconduct, criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust.' Here again no details of the alleged criminal misconduct were disclosed. Mr. S.N. Verma appearing for the respondent referred to annexure 'A'.

In annexure 'A' it was mentioned that, Ram Kishun Tandon was absent from duty from the 24th August to the 10th of September, 1954. So a possible charge against the petitioner can be for absence from duty for a week without permission. It is, however, obvious that, the main charge against the petitioner is the alleged misappropriation of the sum of Rs. 8,520/-.

6. The petitioner relied upon the Sastri Award for his contention that, departmental action after an acquittal from a criminal court is barred. The passage in question appears in paragraph 505 of the award. That passage has been quoted in paragraph 16 of the affidavit. A perusal of paragraph 505 of the award shows that, although the Tribunal considered that departmental action after an acquittal would be in general inappropriate, the Tribunal did not lay down that departmental action should be prohibited in all such cases. The Tribunal remarked that the acquittal should not be lightly challenged by departmental enquiry. In paragraph 505 of the Award it was contemplated that, in certain cases disciplinary action might be necessary in spite of acquittal from a criminal court.

7. Mr. S. N. Verma, on the other hand, relies upon paragraph 521 of the Sastri Awards Paragraph 521 of the award ran thus:

''A person against whom disciplinary actions is proposed or likely to be taken should, in the first instance, be informed of the particulars of the charge against him;...... ... With this objectin view we give the following directions:

..............................................................

(2) (a) When in the opinion of the management an employee has comitted an offence....... the bank may take steps to prosecute him....... .

(c) If he be acquitted, it shall be open to the management to proceed against him under the provisions set out below in sub-paragraphs (9) and (10) infra relating to discharges.......'

Sub-paragraphs (9) and (10) of paragraph 521 contain detailed instructions about disciplinary action. It will be seen that, disciplinary action after an acquittal was permissible under Clause (c) 1 of sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 521 of the Award.

8. The two paragraphs discussed above appear in Chapter XXV of the Sastri Award. The general heading of Chapter XXV is: 'Method of recruitment, conditions of service, termination of employment, disciplinary action, etc.' Chapter XXV has been divided into five sections. Section 1 deals with the method of recruitment. Section 2 deals with the terms and conditions of service. Paragraph 505 appears in Section 2 of Chapter XXV of the Award. Section 3 deals with the procedure for taking disciplinary action. Paragraph 521 appears in Section 3.

The scheme of Chapter XXV of the Award suggests that, paragraph 505 contains generaldiscussion about the conditions of service. The recommendation contained in paragraph 505 was directory and not mandatory. The specific recommendation of the Tribunal on the question of disciplinary action is to be found in paragraph 521 of the Award. Paragraph 521 permits departmental action after acquittal from a Criminal court. I, therefore, do not think that, under the Sastri Award a management is altogether prohibited from taking departmental action, after the acquittal of an employee from a criminal court.

9. It will be noticed that, this is a dispute between private parties. The State is not a party to the present petition. Neither of the two opposite parties is a statutory body. Mr. S.C. Khare urged that the opposite parties were under statutory obligation not to take recourse to disciplinary action against the petitioner.

10. Reliance was placed upon Central Act No. 41 of 1955. Section 3 of the Act lays down that the appellate decision shall have effect subject to the modification recommended by the Bank Award Commission. Section 6 of the Act deals with the powers to remove difficulties. It appears that there was some doubt about the validity of the two Awards given by the two Industrial Tribunals in succession. In order to remove that doubt, Parliament passed the Industrial Disputes (Banking Companies) Act, 1955. The main effect of Act No. 41 of 1955 was to declare the validity of the Awards. The Act by itself does not create any statutory obligation against any person.

11. The nature of mandamus has been discussed in Halsbury's Laws of England, third edition, Volume II, in Section 151 at page 84. The order of mandamus is an order of a most extensive remedial nature, and is, in form, a command issuing from the High Court of Justice, directed to any person, corporation, or inferior tribunal, requiring him or them to do some particular thing therein specified which appertains to his or their office and is in the nature of a public duty. Again in Section 170 at page 90 the law is stated thus:

'An order of mandamus will be granted ordering that to be done which a statute requires to be done, and for this rule to apply it is not necessary that the party or corporation on whom the statutory duty is imposed should be a public official or an official body. In order, however, for an order of mandamus to issue for the enforcement of a statutory right, it must appear that the statute in question imposes a duty.'

12. Mr. S.C. Khare urged that under Act No. 41 of 1955 there is a statutory duty on every management as laid down in the Sastri Award. I do not think that Act No. 41 of 1955 creates any specific statutory duty. As discussed above, this statute merely declares the validity of certain awards given previously in industrial disputes. I do not think that the awards recognised by Act No. 41 of 1955 can be placed on a higher footing than a decree of a civil Court. Mr. S.C. Khare does not suggest that, this Court should issue a writ of mandamus in order to enforce a decree of a civil court.

13. Neither of the two respondents is a judicial body or a tribunal. There is no question of the issue of a writ of certiorari. Even a writ of mandamus would not be appropriate in the present case. Mr. S.C. Khare conceded that, if the proposed disciplinary action against the petitioner amounts to violation of the Sastri Award, it is possible to take some action against the respondents. But Mr. Khare urged that, that alternative does not give an adequate remedy to the petitioner.

14. In the first place it is not quite clear whether the subject matter of the disciplinary action against the petitioner is identical with the charge disposed of by the criminal court. Secondly, disciplinary action after an acquittal is not barred even under the Sastri Award relied upon by the petitioner. Thirdly, the respondents are not under any statutory obligation under Act No. 41 of 1955. For all these reasons, this is not a fit case for issuing any writ or direction under Article 226 of the Constitution.

15. The petition is dismissed with costs. The stay order dated 11-5-1956 is withdrawn.


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