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K.G. Jani Vs. State Bank of Saurashtra - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1983)2GLR1145
AppellantK.G. Jani
RespondentState Bank of Saurashtra
Excerpt:
.....that the gravity of the offence committed by the petitioner is of such a nature that the appropriate punishment should have been out-right dismissal and he points out that in fact, dismissal was recommended by the inquiry body but as a result of the petitioner's reply to the show cause notice regarding the punishment the bank management has done what was possible in the circumstances of the case namely to reduce it from dismissal to that of compulsory retirement. no employer can be saddled with a responsibility to retain an employee who is proved to be corrupt or indulging in dishonest practices especially in an institution like a bank which has to deal with depositors' money. showing sympathy in a case like this could possibly be construed as condoning corruption or even possibly..........is such that it is not possible to hold that the petitioner deserves to be retained in the bank service by the respondent. ordinarily the court would have sympathy for an employee who is going to lose his employment and thereby his means of maintenance would disappear. but in a case wherein the employee is guilty of an offence involving moral turpitude or a deliberate act of dishonesty, the court's sympathy would be misplaced and may result in injustice done to the employer. no employer can be saddled with a responsibility to retain an employee who is proved to be corrupt or indulging in dishonest practices especially in an institution like a bank which has to deal with depositors' money. showing sympathy in a case like this could possibly be construed as condoning corruption or.....
Judgment:

A.S. Qureshi, J.

1. Rule. Mr. G. N. Desai appears for the respondent and waives notice.

2. In this petition the petitioner is challenging the order passed against the petitioner retiring him compulsorily from the service of the respondent Bank. There was a departmental inquiry held against the petitioner wherein he was found guilty of charges levelled against him and was ordered to be dismissed from the service on the basis of the finding of the Inquiry officer. The charge levelled against the petitioner was that he had converted the medical bill of Rs. 35/- into Rs. 1535/- by adding the figures '15' before the figure '35' in respect of the reimbursement of the medical bill and had claimed the higher amount. The petitioner had earlier filed writ petition No. 4331/82 in this Court challenging the aforesaid order. At the hearing of the said petition, it was pointed out that the petitioner had alternative remedy available to him in filing an appeal to the appropriate authority. Consequently the said petition was allowed to be withdrawn and the court had directed that after considering the appeal of the petitioner if there be an order against him the same will be stayed for a period of 10 days.

3. The petitioner's appeal was considered by the appellate authority which, after taking all the material circumstances into account, came to the conclusion that the punishment awarded was correct. Against the said order of the appellate authority the present petition is filed challenging the order of compulsory retirement passed against the petitioner. Considering the gravity of the offence alleged against the petitioner namely converting the figure of Rs. 35/- into Rs. 1535/- which is a very serious offence especially in the case of an officer of a Bank, the punishment awarded of compulsory retirement would normally be regarded as adequate or at any rate not an excessive one. Still this Court felt that a notice may be issued to the respondent Bank to hear them as regards the quantum of punishment.

4. Mr. G. N. Desai, the learned Counsel for the respondent Bank has urged that the gravity of the offence committed by the petitioner is of such a nature that the appropriate punishment should have been out-right dismissal and he points out that in fact, dismissal was recommended by the Inquiry Body but as a result of the petitioner's reply to the show cause notice regarding the punishment the Bank Management has done what was possible in the circumstances of the case namely to reduce it from dismissal to that of compulsory retirement. Mr. Desai has urged that the work of an officer in a Bank is of such a nature that the Bank Officer has to be a man of highest integrity and that any flaw in the character of an officer would make him wholly unsuitable for a job in a Bank and, therefore, he has submitted that in the circumstances of the case, the Bank has taken a very lenient view in the matter of the punishment and, therefore, it has awarded the punishment of compulsory retirement so that the petitioner may get such benefits of retirement as may be available to him under the relevant Rules and Regulations.

5. Mr. Mohit S. Shah, the learned Counsel for the petitioner has urged that the appellate authority has denied the petitioner's assertion that he had rendered service in the Bank free from any blemish but have not produced any material on which they could rely for the purpose of showing that the petitioner's record had any blemish. It is not necessary for the respondent Bank to produce evidence for showing that the petitioner's service was not free from blemish. A mere denial by the respondent Bank of the assertion made by the petitioner about his clean service would not render the Bank liable to cite instance in support of such a denial. Hence Mr. Shah's contention is untenable and the same is rejected. Mr. Shah has further urged that in the circumstances of the case especially in view of the family hardship of the petitioner, the punishment of compulsory retirement should be held to be too harsh and should be modified. It is difficult to accept this submission of Mr. Shah because the circumstances of the case and the nature of the allegation against the petitioner is such that it is not possible to hold that the petitioner deserves to be retained in the Bank service by the respondent. Ordinarily the Court would have sympathy for an employee who is going to lose his employment and thereby his means of maintenance would disappear. But in a case wherein the employee is guilty of an offence involving moral turpitude or a deliberate act of dishonesty, the Court's sympathy would be misplaced and may result in injustice done to the employer. No employer can be saddled with a responsibility to retain an employee who is proved to be corrupt or indulging in dishonest practices especially in an institution like a Bank which has to deal with depositors' money. Showing sympathy in a case like this could possibly be construed as condoning corruption or even possibly be regarded as indirectly encouraging dishonesty.

In the present case the punishment awarded cannot be said to to be excessive or unjust. The Bank management have, of their own, reduced penalty of dismissal to that of compulsory retirement which in the opinion of this Court, is a sufficient good turn that the Bank has done to the petitioner. Because the petitioner will be entitled to retirement benefits.

6. Mr. Shah has finally urged that other employees of this Bank against whom there were allegations of dishonesty or mal-practices have been in the past awarded lighter punishments. According to him, not awarding similar lighter punishment to the petitioner is discriminatory in nature and would be hit by Article 14 of the Constitution of India. This contention of Mr. Shah also deserves to be rejected because each case of misconduct has to be judged on its own facts and circumstances. There cannot be a general rule of treating all the wrongs and misconducts by a certain common standard of leniency. We have no material before us as to under what circumstances in those other cases lighter punishments were awarded. It is quite obvious that Article 14 has no application in this case. The petition, therefore, deserves to be dismissed and the same is rejected. Rule is discharged. In the circumstances of the case there shall be no order as to costs.

7. At this stage Mr. Shah submits that the petitioner may want to avail of further remedy and, therefore, he requests that ad interim relief granted earlier by this Court may be continued for a period of 15 days. The request is reasonable and the same is granted. Ad interim stay shall continue for a period of 15 days from today.


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