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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Indisputably, no documents were supplied to the respondent along with the charge-sheet on the basis of which charges were framed. Some of the documents were given during departmental inquiry, but relevant documents on the basis of which findings were recorded were not made available to the respondent. It further appears that the list of documents and witnesses were also not supplied and some of the documents were produced during the course of inquiry. 10. Admittedly, show cause notice was served along with 17 charges, but all the documents were not supplied to the respondent. A perusal of the impugned order will show that when the Division Bench, during the course of arguments, asked the learned counsel appearing for the appellants whether documents viz. P-21, P-25, P-23, P-19, P-30, P-31 & P-32 were supplied to the respondent, on the basis of which various charges have been held to be proved, learned counsel was not able to demonstrate that the above documents were supplied to the respondent even during the course of inquiry. The Division Bench then following a catena of decisions of this Court came to the conclusion that the order of punishment cannot be sustained in law. However, taking into consideration the fact that the respondent was out of employment since 1991, a lump sum payment of Rs.5,00,000/- towards the salary would meet the ends of justice. 11. After giving our anxious consideration, we do not find any reason to differ with the finding recorded by the learned Single Judge and also the Division Bench of the High Court in writ appeal. Therefore, this civil appeal is dismissed.

                                                                ‘REPORTABLE’

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                      Civil Appeal No.   4467 of  2015
                  (Arising out of SLP(C)No. 22488 of 2012)


Bilaspur Raipur Kshetriya Gramin Bank
and another                                              …..Appellant(s)
                                   versus

Madanlal Tandon                                   …..Respondent(s)



                                  JUDGMENT

M. Y. EQBAL, J.

      Leave granted.

2.    This appeal by special leave is  directed  against  the  judgment  and
order dated 17th February, 2012, whereby Division Bench of  the  High  Court
of Chhattisgarh in the writ appeal preferred by the  appellants  upheld  the
order of the learned Single Judge and directed payment towards  respondent’s
claim of salary up to Rs.5,00,000/- with all consequential benefits.



3.    The factual matrix of the case is that the respondent was  working  as
a Field Supervisor in the appellant Bank since 1981.  In February,  1984,  a
charge-sheet was issued to him for having committed misconduct and  after  a
departmental  inquiry,  an  order  dated  5.7.1984   was   passed   by   the
Disciplinary Authority imposing punishment of stoppage  of  his  two  annual
increments.  Thereafter a second charge-sheet was issued to  the  respondent
in November,  1987  alleging  that  the  respondent  had  committed  several
financial irregularities in various loan cases. An  inquiry  was  conducted,
wherein fourteen charges were found proved against the respondent and  three
charges were not found proved.   Consequently,  the  punishment  of  removal
from  service  was  inflicted   against   the   respondent   on   1.10.1991.
Respondent preferred  an  appeal  before  the  Board  of  Directors  of  the
appellant Bank, but the same was dismissed.



 4.   The respondent, therefore,  moved  the  High  Court  by  way  of  writ
petition,  inter  alia  contending  that  both   the   charge-sheets   being
identical, the second inquiry was not  competent.   It  was  also  contended
that along with the second charge-sheet, neither the list of  documents  nor
the documents  sought  to  be  relied  upon  were  supplied.   It  was  also
contended by the respondent-writ  petitioner  that  appropriate  opportunity
was not afforded to him to have inspection of the relevant documents and  as
such the respondent was not in a position  to  reply  the  said  show  cause
notice effectively and to defend him in the inquiry.  Learned  Single  Judge
of the High Court rejected his first contention and held  that  the  charges
were not  identical  and,  therefore,  the  second  inquiry  was  competent.
However, it was held that along with  the  charge-sheet  and  imputation  of
charges, there was no list of documents and list of witnesses were also  not
supplied as such the respondent was  not  afforded  an  opportunity  to  put
forward his case in response to show cause notice  along  with  the  charge-
sheet.  Observing that the object of rules of natural justice is  to  ensure
that a government  servant  is  treated  fairly  in  proceedings  which  may
culminate in  imposition  of  punishment  including  dismissal/removal  from
service, learned Single Judge of  the  High  Court  quashed  the  orders  of
removal passed by the  appellant  and  allowed  the  writ  petition  of  the
respondent with all consequential benefits.



5.     Aggrieved  by  aforesaid  decision,  the  appellants  preferred  writ
appeal, wherein Division  Bench  of  the  High  Court,  after  perusing  the
record, found that although the show cause notice was served along  with  17
charges, but no documents were supplied along with the  show  cause  to  the
respondent.  Even the list of documents  sought  to  be  relied  during  the
inquiry was not supplied along with the  show  cause.   The  Division  Bench
opined that it is trite law  that  when  a  delinquent  employee  is  facing
disciplinary proceeding, he is entitled to be  afforded  with  a  reasonable
opportunity to meet the charges against him in an effective manner.  If  the
copies of the documents are not  supplied  to  the  concerned  employee,  it
would be difficult for him to prepare his defence and to  cross-examine  the
witnesses and point out the inconsistencies with a view  to  show  that  the
allegations are false or baseless.



6.    The Division Bench of the High Court  further  observed  that  in  the
instant case neither the list of witnesses nor the  list  of  documents  was
supplied to the respondent along with the charge-sheet.  Though  during  the
course of inquiry some documents were supplied to him but  those  documents,
on which the reliance was placed by the Inquiry Officer for holding  various
charges proved, were  not  supplied  to  the  respondent.   The  High  Court
further observed that the respondent is out of employment  since  01.10.1991
and his claim for arrears of salary, as  stated  by  counsel  for  both  the
parties, would be more than 45-50 lakhs.  The Bank’s money is  public  money
and a huge amount cannot be paid to anyone for doing no work. The  principle
of “no work no pay” has been evolved in view of the public interest that  an
employee who does not discharge his duty  is  not  entitled  to  arrears  of
salary at the cost of public exchequer.  By way of  impugned  judgment,  the
High Court, therefore, concluded that in the facts and circumstances of  the
case a lump-sum payment of Rs.  5,00,000/-  towards  the  claim  of  salary,
would be just and proper in this matter.  The respondent was  also  held  to
be entitled to all other consequential benefits.



7.    Hence, the present appeal by special leave by the appellant  Bank  and
its Board of Directors.  It is worth to mention  here  that  the  respondent
has not come to this Court against the impugned judgment passed by the  High
Court.



8.    We  have  heard  Mr.  Akshat  Shrivastava,  learned  counsel  for  the
appellants and Mr.  T.V.S.  Raghavendra  Sreyas,  learned  counsel  for  the
respondent.  We have also perused the impugned order passed by the  Division
Bench  of  the  High  Court.   The  only  controversy  that  falls  for  our
consideration is as to whether the documents, which were the  basis  of  the
charges leveled against the respondent, were supplied to the  respondent  or
not?



9.    Indisputably, no documents were supplied to the respondent along  with
the charge-sheet on the basis of which charges were  framed.   Some  of  the
documents were given during departmental inquiry, but relevant documents  on
the basis of which findings were recorded were not  made  available  to  the
respondent.  It further appears that the list  of  documents  and  witnesses
were also not supplied and some of the documents were  produced  during  the
course of inquiry.



10.   Admittedly, show cause notice was served along with  17  charges,  but
all the documents were not supplied to the respondent.   A  perusal  of  the
impugned order will show that when the Division Bench, during the course  of
arguments, asked the learned counsel appearing for  the  appellants  whether
documents viz. P-21, P-25, P-23, P-19, P-30, P-31 & P-32  were  supplied  to
the respondent, on the basis of which various charges have been held  to  be
proved,  learned counsel  was   not  able  to  demonstrate  that  the  above
documents were  supplied  to  the  respondent  even  during  the  course  of
inquiry.  The Division Bench then following a catena of  decisions  of  this
Court came to  the  conclusion  that  the  order  of  punishment  cannot  be
sustained in law.  However, taking into  consideration  the  fact  that  the
respondent was  out  of  employment  since  1991,  a  lump  sum  payment  of
Rs.5,00,000/- towards the salary would meet the ends of justice.



11.   After giving our anxious consideration, we do not find any  reason  to
differ with the finding recorded by the learned Single Judge  and  also  the
Division Bench of the High Court in  writ  appeal.   Therefore,  this  civil
appeal is dismissed.




                                                              …………………………….J.
                                                                (M.Y. Eqbal)



                                                              …………………………….J.
                                                                (S.A. Bobde)
New Delhi
May 15, 2015


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