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No Defense Available To A Delinquent To Say There Was ‘No Loss Or Profit’ Resulting In A Case When He Is Found To Have Acted Without Authority- SC [Read Judgment]

While dismissing the appeal filed by an Assistant of LIC against punishment imposed for financial irregularities on job, the Supreme Court observed that the delinquent employee cannot make a plea that punishment ought to be avoided as  no loss or profit was caused as a result of the misconduct.

The appellant was found to have issued receipts to policy holders, without actually receiving payment from them. On notice being issued to him, he did not specifically deny the charges, but made a plea that the error happened due to pressure of work and family worries. The enquiry officer entered a finding that the appellant acted with mala fides. On the basis of enquiry report, the appellant was dismissed from service.

However, the Industrial Tribunal set aside the departmental proceedings, and directed the reinstatement of the appellant. Thereupon, the LIC approached the High Court, which upheld the disciplinary proceedings, and set aside the award of the Tribunal. The appellant came in appeal before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court found no irregularity in the departmental proceedings. Firstly, it was noted that the appellant had virtually admitted the charges in his defence statement, and had only made a prayer of leniency. Apart from the admission, the charges were independently proved by the LIC before the Enquiry Officer, as well as before the Tribunal. The Court observed that In a case where he deals with the money of the depositors and customers, it is all the more necessary for him to be more cautious in his duties because he deals with the money transactions for and on behalf of his employer. Every such employee/officer is, therefore, required to take all possible steps to protect the interest of his employer.

It was also observed as follows:- There is no defense available to a delinquent to say that there was no loss or profit resulting in a case when officer/employee is found to have acted without authority. The very discipline of an organization and especially financial institution where money is deposited of several depositors for their benefit is dependent upon each of its employee, who acts/operates within the allotted sphere as custodian of such deposit. Acting beyond one’s authority by itself is a breach of discipline and thus constitutes a misconduct rendering the delinquent to suffer the adverse orders.

Read the Judgment Here

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