29 Sep 2022 3:30 PM GMT
The Andhra Pradesh High Court recently held that Bank employees are required to exercise higher standards of honesty and integrity and if any such employee is found guilty of failure to discharge his duty with diligence, he can be meted with the dismissal from service as a proportionate punishment. In Chairman & Managing Director, United Commercial Bank v. P.C. Kakkar (2003),...
The Andhra Pradesh High Court recently held that Bank employees are required to exercise higher standards of honesty and integrity and if any such employee is found guilty of failure to discharge his duty with diligence, he can be meted with the dismissal from service as a proportionate punishment.
In Chairman & Managing Director, United Commercial Bank v. P.C. Kakkar (2003), the Supreme Court held as "Every Officer/employee of the bank is required to take all possible steps to protect the interests of the bank and to discharge his duties with utmost integrity, honesty, devotion and diligence and becoming of a bank officer. Good conduct and discipline are inseparable from functioning of every officer/employee of the bank."
Brief Facts of the case
The petitioner filed this writ petition challenging the order of dismissal from service and the appellate order dismissing the petitioner's departmental appeal.
The petitioner joined the services of Andhra bank in 1987 and was promoted as Deputy Manager (Rural Development) in 2002.
While serving the said Bank, the petitioner was issued with a charge sheet containing the allegations of serious irregularities in the appraisal of loan proposals.
The respondent had submitted that the Petitioner as a Rural Development Officer had to make pre-sanction field visit before processing the loan which he utterly failed to discharge. The disciplinary authority had clearly recorded a finding that the petitioner appraised the applications for short term agricultural loans and recommended for sanction loans to farmers without making field visits to confirm the existence of borrowers, ownership of land, extent of land under cultivation and crops being raised.
The petitioner contended that he made the field visits but inadvertently did not record the date of visit in the applications. But the disciplinary authority recorded that the petitioner being the Processing Officer did not cross check the particulars of extent of land and ownership in the Mandal Revenue records. On enquiry, it was established that the pattadar passbook of a borrower was even fake.
1. Whether the impugned order holding the petitioner guilty of the charges and imposing punishment calls for any interference by this Court?
2. Whether the punishment of dismissal imposed is disproportionate to the proved charges?
Finding of the Court
On point 1, the court observed that the petitioner could not point out any illegality in holding departmental enquiry or violation of natural justice principles and thus called for no interference in the exercise of writ jurisdiction.
Regarding Point 2, Justice Ravi Nath Tilhari was of the view that in matters of banking, the responsibility on the person is on the higher side and devotion to duty is to be utmost.
The court placed reliance on Apex Court decisions in Chairman & Managing Director, United Commercial Bank (supra), Canara Bank v. VK. Awasthy (2005) to hold as:
"Once it is recorded, concurrently, that the petitioner being the employee of the bank and having failed to discharge his duty in processing in the matter of grant of loans which were found to be in the names of fake pattadars, considering the finding of proved guilt recorded concurrently by the disciplinary as also by the appellate authority, the punishment of dismissal cannot be said to be disproportionate to the proved charges."
For the reasons mentioned above, the Court dismissed the writ petition.
Case Title: Harinarayan Seet versus Andhra Bank
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AP) 125
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment