1 IN THE HIGH COURT OF JHARKHAND AT RANCHI W.P. (S) No. 7347 of 2006 Anjani Kumar Sinha, son of Late Rameshwar Prasad, resident of C/o. Lakshmi Narayan Singh, Sarvodaya Nagar, Jailhata, P.O. & P.S. Daltonganj, District: Palamau. .... Petitioner Versus 1. Vananchal Gramin Bank through its chairman having its Head Office at Church Road, P.O. & P.S. Daltonganj, District: Palamau.
2. The Chairman, Vananchal Gramin Bank having its Head Office at Church Road, P.O. & P.S. Daltonganj, District: Palamau.
3. Chairman Appellate Authority, Board of Directors, Vananchal Gramin Bank, Church Road, P.O. & P.S. Daltonganj, District: Palamau.
4. General Manager, Vananchal Gramin Bank, Church Road, P.O. & P.S. Daltonganj, District: Palamau. .... Respondents --- CORAM : HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE PRAMATH PATNAIK --- For the Petitioner : M/s Md. Sohail Anwar, Sr. Advocate Prabhash Kumar & Tapas Kabiraj, Advocates For the Respondents : M/s Rajesh Kumar, Amit Kumar & M.K. Sinha, Advocates ----- CAV on 04/05/2016 Pronounced on 09/09/2016 Per Pramath Patnaik, J.
In the captioned writ application, prayer has been made for quashing the order dated 22.06.2005 whereby the petitioner has been inflicted with punishment of reduction/down grading the pay scale by three stages and for quashing the charge-sheet dated 20.12.2003 issued by the Chairman-cum- disciplinary authority and quashing the order dated 07.09.2006 passed by the 2 appellate authority/respondent no.3 whereby the order dated 16.06.2005/22.06.2005 passed by the disciplinary authority has been modified to the extent that the order of inflicting punishment of reduction/down grading the pay scale by three stages has been reduced to reduction /down grading pay scale by two stages and the period of suspension would remain as it is.
2. Sans details, the facts as disclosed in the writ application is that while continuing on the post of Accountant at Garhwa Bazar Branch of Palamau Kshetriya Gramin Bank, the petitioner was placed under suspension vide letter dated 21.09.2001 for violating the directions and the explanation was called for from the petitioner dated 06.10.2001. In pursuance to the said letter, the petitioner submitted his explanation before the General Manager. The explanation being found unsatisfactory, the petitioner was served with a charge-sheet vide letter dated 20.12.2003 pertaining to negligence/indiscipline and violating the directions/orders of the Branch Manager as per Rules 16, 17, and 19 of the P.K.G.B (Officers and Staffs) Service Regulation. The disciplinary proceeding was initiated and the inquiry officer and presenting officer was appointed. Before the inquiry officer, the petitioner submitted his defense statement denying the charges, the inquiry officer submitted a report and the copy of the inquiry report supplied to the petitioner and the petitioner was asked to submit his reply on the findings of the inquiry report. The petitioner submitted his reply on the inquiry report during course of inquiry the charge nos. 1 and 3 were proved and the charge no.2 was partially proved. On the basing of the inquiry report the disciplinary authority has arrived at a finding as rules 16, 17, 19 and 38 of P.K.G.B (Officers and Staff) service regulation 2001 and accordingly as per Rule 38 3 Sub-rule (i) (Kha) (2) of the said service regulation the petitioner has been inflicted punishment of down grading/reduction of three stages in his pay scale and the period of suspension has been treated as such vide Annexure-9 to the writ application. Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with by the impugned order of punishment, the petitioner submitted appeal before the Board of Directors. The appellate authority vide order dated 07.09.2006 modified the order of punishment of reduction/down grading his pay scale by three stages to two stages and further ordered that the period of suspension of the petitioner would remain as it is as evident from Annexure-12 to the writ application.
3. Learned senior counsel for the petitioner has vehemently submitted that the impugned order passed by the disciplinary authority is illgeal, in view of the facts before infliction of punishment no show cause notice was issued to the petitioner which has resulted in vitiating the entire proceeding. Learned senior counsel further submits that the charges framed against the petitioner were totally vague and no inference could be drawn with regard to the complicity of the petitioner and as such the initiation of departmental proceeding and the order of punishment by the disciplinary authority is not legally sustainable. It is further submitted that the respondents proceeded with a pre-determined mind to inflict punishment on the petitioner and the entire proceeding has been conducted in utter haste with a sole motive to inflict punishment on the petitioner. It is submitted that the impugned order passed by the disciplinary as well as by the appellate authority is non- speaking and non-reasoned order, which ought to be quashed in view of the law laid down by the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Roop Singh Negi Vs. Punjab National Bank & Ors as reported in (2009) 2 SCC570and in the 4 case of G. Vallikumari Vs. Andhra Education Society & Ors as reported in (2010) 2 SCC497 Furthermore, the appellate authority while deciding the appeal against the petitioner with modification in the order of punishment have not considered the relevant materials while deciding the appeal. In this regard, learned senior counsel for the petitioner has referred to the decisions rendered in the case of Dr. Rabindra Nath Singh Vs. The State of Bihar & Ors as reported in 1983 PLJR92 4. Learned counsel for the respondents-bank has reiterated the submissions made in the counter-affidavit. Learned counsel for the respondents-bank has more particular referred to paragraph IV, V, VII and VIII. Learned counsel has assiduously submitted that the appellate authority has considered sympathetically and taking a lenient view reduced and revised the punishment of the disciplinary authority from downgrading three stages in his pay scale to stoppage of two annual increment without cumulative effect and treating the suspension period as such. Learned counsel for the respondent-bank has further submitted that the order of punishment by the disciplinary authority has been modified and converted a minor punishment therefore, no interference is called for in the instant writ application.
5. After hearing learned counsel for the respective parties at length and on perusal of the evidences on records, I am of the considered view that the petitioner has not been able to make out a case for interference due to the following facts and reasons stated hereinbelow:- (i) That the punishment inflicted upon the disciplinary authority and thereafter the modified order of punishment by the appellate authority is appropriate in view of the gravity of charges. Moreover, the appellate authority has considered the case of the petitioner 5 sympathetically and leniently and relief granted by downgrading petitioner's pay scale to two stages without cumulative effect in place of three stages of pay scale as downgraded by the disciplinary authority. Therefore, considering the gravity of charges, findings of the inquiry officer the punishment inflicted by the appellate authority and the order modified by the appellate authority appears to be justified which warrants no interference by this Court. From the initiation, till its culmination no procedural irregularities has been found nor the petitioner has been exonerated from the charges by the findings of the inquiry officer therefore, this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is not inclined to exercise for review in the impugned order of punishment. (ii) In the case in hand, in view of the seriousness of allegation and misconduct committed by the petitioner, the power of judicial review cannot be applied. Moreover, finding three consecutive materials on record cannot be interfered with, as has been held by the Apex Court in the case of Uttar of Pradesh and Another Vs. Man Mohan Nath Sinha & Another as reported in (2009) 8 SCC310, in paragraph 15 held as under:-
“15. The legal position is well settled that the power of judicial review is not directed against the decision but is confined to the decision-making process. The court does not sit in judgment on merits of the decision. It is not open to the High Court to reappreciate and reappraise the evidence led before the inquiry officer and examine the findings recorded by the inquiry officer as a court of appeal and reach its own conclusions....” 6 (iii) There is absolutely no quarrel over the proposition to the decision cited by the learned counsel for the petitioner, but in the facts and circumstances of the case, the aforesaid decisions are not applicable in the case at hand.
6. In view of the reasons stated in the foregoing paragraphs, the impugned order passed by the appellate authority dated 07.09.2006 vide Annexure-12 does not warrant any interference by this Court. Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed being devoid of merit. (Pramath Patnaik, J.) RKM/- N.A.F.R.