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Dhara Singh Vs. Union Bank of India and Ors. - (High Court of Delhi) (08 May 2023)

If the findings are based on evidence, the question of adequacy of evidence will not be a ground for interfering with the findings of the departmental enquiries



The present writ petition has been filed by the Petitioner impugning the order passed by the Disciplinary Authority of the erstwhile Andhra Bank under Clause 6(c) of the Bi-partite Settlement dated 10th April, 2002, whereby punishment of compulsory retirement has been imposed upon the petitioner. The said punishment of compulsory retirement was upheld by the Appellate Authority of erstwhile bank vide its order, which has also been impugned by way of the present petition.

The Enquiry Officer has categorically held that, it was the responsibility of the Petitioner, being the Cashier to adhere to the laid down procedures and system. The Enquiry Officer has further held that, if the Petitioner had any difficulty, then the Petitioner ought to have sought the assistance of other colleagues at the branch, instead of keeping the cash with him. The Petitioner ought to have reported to the Branch Manager, so that the amount in question could be accounted for.

Once the enquiry has been held properly and Principles of Natural Justice have been followed, then this Court while exercising its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950 would not sit as an appellate authority over the findings of the departmental authorities.

There is another aspect of the matter. Pursuant to the findings of the Enquiry Officer, the bank lost confidence in the Petitioner as he had retained the amount of the customer for a period of 20 days and had returned the same only when the customer approached the bank subsequently. Though the Petitioner contended that, there was no malafide on his part and that he never intended to retain the amount, however, the fact remains that the amount was retained by him.

Thus, Supreme Court in the case of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur Vs. Nemi Chand Nalwaya, has held that, if the enquiry has been conducted fairly and properly and the findings are based on evidence, the question of adequacy of evidence will not be a ground for interfering with the findings of the departmental enquiries. Further, it has been held that in dealing with cases of termination of bank employees, the loss of confidence by the bank in the employee, will be an important and relevant factor. Petition dismissed.


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