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Regional Manager, UCO Bank vs. Krishna Kumar Bhardwaj - (Supreme Court) (18 Feb 2022)

Scope of judicial review cannot be extended to the examination of correctness or reasonableness of a decision of authority



The instant appeal is directed against the judgment passed by the Division Bench of the High Court affirming the order of the learned Single Judge pursuant to which the inquiry proceedings and consequential punishment inflicted upon the Respondent delinquent were quashed and set aside.

The scope of judicial review cannot be extended to the examination of correctness or reasonableness of a decision of authority as a matter of fact. In the course of enquiry, a documentary evidence came on record that, although Vinod Kumar Khanna was the Manager of the Branch but the date, i.e., 10th/11th November, 1999 on which the theft was committed, the custodian of cash were the Respondent along with the Assistant Manager(Cash). The finding has been recorded by the inquiry officer in his report holding that the Respondent delinquent was the custodian of cash in keeping the keys in cash safe/strong room in the almirah of the stationery room overnight and not keeping the same in his personal custody as per rules of the Bank along with Assistant Manager(Cash).

The finding of fact was confirmed by the Disciplinary/Appellate Authority in upholding the guilt of the Respondent as he had failed in discharge of his duties as a custodian when the theft had taken place on 10th/11th November, 1999 but the High Court in the impugned judgment has not taken pains to examine the finding recorded by the inquiry officer in reference to the responsibility which the Respondent delinquent failed to discharge as a custodian of cash at the relevant point of time when the theft was committed. The finding which has been recorded by the High Court in the impugned order is unsustainable and not supported with the report of inquiry available on record.

The High Court has exceeded in its jurisdiction while interfering with the disciplinary proceedings initiated against the Respondent delinquent. The judgment of the High Court is accordingly quashed and set aside. Appeal allowed.


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