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Boloram Bordoloi Vs. Lakhimi Gaolia Bank and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (08 Feb 2021)

If the disciplinary authority accepts the findings recorded by the Enquiry Officer and passes an order, no detailed reasons are required to be recorded in the order imposing punishment



Issue in present case is relating to confirmation of the order of compulsory retirement in disciplinary proceedings initiated against the Appellant. Learned Counsel for the Appellant has mainly contended that, after completion of enquiry, even before furnishing a copy of enquiry report, the disciplinary authority has issued show cause notice by indicating proposed punishment of compulsory retirement. It is submitted by learned Counsel that, the punishment imposed is disproportionate to the gravity of charges, as such, prayed for setting aside the impugned orders.

The Appellant was working as a Manager of the Respondent-bank. A perusal of the charges, which are held to be proved by the Enquiry Officer, reveal that he has sanctioned and disbursed loans without following the due procedure contemplated under law and also there are allegations of misappropriation, disbursing loans irregularly in some instances to (a) units without any shop/business; (b) more than one loan to members of same family etc. The Enquiry Officer, after considering oral and documentary evidence on record, has held that all the charges are proved.

After Enquiry Officer records his findings, it is always open for the disciplinary authority to arrive at tentative conclusion of proposed punishment and it can indicate to the delinquent employee by enclosing a copy of the enquiry report.

Merely because a show cause notice is issued by indicating the proposed punishment, it cannot be said that, disciplinary authority has taken a decision. A perusal of the show cause notice itself makes it clear that along with the show cause notice itself enquiry report was also enclosed. It cannot be said that the procedure prescribed under the Rules was not followed by Respondent-bank.

It is well settled that, if the disciplinary authority accepts the findings recorded by the Enquiry Officer and passes an order, no detailed reasons are required to be recorded in the order imposing punishment. The punishment is imposed based on the findings recorded in the enquiry report, as such, no further elaborate reasons are required to be given by the disciplinary authority.

The charges framed against the Appellant in the departmental enquiry are serious and grave. The manager of a bank plays a vital role in managing the affairs of the bank. A bank officer/employee deals with the public money. The nature of his work demands vigilance with the in-built requirement to act carefully. If an officer/employee of the bank is allowed to act beyond his authority, the discipline of the bank will disappear. When the procedural guidelines are issued for grant of loans, officers/employees are required to follow the same meticulously and any deviation will lead to erosion of public trust on the banks.

Inspite of proved misconduct on serious charges, disciplinary authority itself was liberal in imposing the punishment of compulsory retirement. In that view of the matter, it cannot be said that, the punishment imposed in the disciplinary proceedings on the Appellant, is disproportionate to the gravity of charges. Appeal dismissed.


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