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The Jharkhand High Court dismissed the petitioner’s request to reinstate him as Staff Officer, considering the period of dismissal as part of his continuous service

Title: Devendra Prasad Yadav vs. Jharkhand Gramin Bank & ORS.

Citation: W.P.(S). NO. 1432 of 2016

Coram: HON’BLE DR. JUSTICE S.N. PATHAK

Introduction:

 In this case the petitioner’s main request is for the court to issue a directive to the respondents to reinstate him to the position of Staff Officer, considering the period of dismissal as part of his continuous service. This introduction outlines the core issues and requests made by the petitioner in the writ petition.

Facts:

In this case, the petitioner, who was a Credit Officer at Ranchi Main Branch of Jharkhand Gramin Bank, became involved in a legal matter.  An FIR was lodged by the Manager of the Ranchi Branch of the respondent bank, indicating a fake transaction of Rs. 7,46,500. Initially, the petitioner was not made an accused in this FIR. Subsequently, another FIR was lodged by the Manager of the Raikera Branch of the respondent bank, relating to an illegal credit of Rs. 2,19,000 into a bank account. The petitioner was issued a show-cause notice regarding the alleged irregularities during his posting at Ranchi Branch. However, he couldn’t submit his explanation within the given timeframe due to missing documents. The petitioner was arrested in connection with one of the FIRs and was subsequently put under suspension by the Chairman of the bank. Departmental proceedings were initiated against the petitioner, and he was served with a charge sheet.

 The petitioner participated in the inquiry, but key documents requested by him were not provided, with the excuse that they were missing from the branch records. The Enquiry Officer found the petitioner guilty, and the petitioner submitted a detailed reply on the findings. Respondent No. 2 passed an order of dismissal from service, which would typically disqualify the petitioner from future employment. The petitioner’s appeal against the dismissal order was also dismissed, leading the petitioner to approach the court for relief. These facts outline the chain of events that led to the petitioner’s legal challenge in this case. The respondents argue that the petitioner’s involvement in the matter led to his arrest by the police on September 13, 2013, justifying his placement under suspension from that date.

The bank served a memorandum requesting an explanation from the petitioner, to which he replied. However, the bank was dissatisfied with the petitioner’s response. Considering the grave nature of the alleged offenses and the potential for significant financial losses for the bank, the decision was made to initiate departmental proceedings. During the departmental proceeding, the petitioner was found guilty of the charges against him, leading to the issuance of the order of dismissal by the Disciplinary Authority. This provides the viewpoint and reasoning presented by the respondents in defense of their actions against the petitioner.

Case Analysis and Judgement:

In this judgment, the High Court has considered a case where the petitioner was dismissed from service through departmental proceedings. Normally, under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the High Court does not interfere with the concurrent findings of two authorities and re-evaluate the evidence. However, there can be exceptions when the punishment order is so severe that it “shocks the conscience. The petitioner had also faced criminal charges identical to those in the departmental proceeding. The Sessions Judge had acquitted the petitioner in the criminal case, and although different standards apply in criminal and departmental cases, the fact that the petitioner was acquitted in the criminal case carries weight. Given the circumstances, the High Court finds the punishment of dismissal to be excessively harsh and conscience-shocking. As a result, the impugned orders dated 01.12.2015 and 15.02.2016 are quashed and set aside. The matter is remitted back to the respondents to reconsider the petitioner’s case for a lesser punishment other than dismissal, removal, or termination.

The writ petition is disposed of, and any pending applications are closed. This judgment essentially sets aside the dismissal of the petitioner and calls for a reconsideration of the punishment imposed on them, taking into account the acquittal in the criminal case and the perceived harshness of the original dismissal order.

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Written By:- Gauri Joshi

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