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Irregularity by bank employees should not be dealt with leniently: Supreme Court

Bank employees hold the position of trust where honesty and integrity are essential conditions and any irregularity on their part should not be dealt with leniently, the Supreme Court said on Friday.

A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Abhay S Oka made the observation while upholding an order of dismissal against a bank clerk for serious irregularities in discharge of his duties.

Merely because the employee stood superannuated in the meanwhile, will not absolve him from the misconduct which he had committed in discharge of his duties and looking into the nature of misconduct which he had committed, he was not entitled for any indulgence.

The Bank employee always holds the position of trust where honesty and integrity are the sine qua non but it would never be advisable to deal with such matters leniently, the bench said.

The apex court said that looking into seriousness of the nature of allegations levelled against the employee, the punishment of dismissal inflicted upon him in no manner could be said to be shockingly disproportionate.

The employee joined service as a Clerk-cum-Typist in 1973 and while in service committed serious irregularities in discharge of his duties and was placed under suspension by an Order dated August 7, 1995.

He was later served with the charge sheet along with the statement of allegation on March 2, 1996. After the disciplinary inquiry was conducted in accordance with the disciplinary rules of the bank, the inquiry officer found the charges proved.

He was dismissed from service by an order dated December 6, 2000 and the appellate authority also rejected the appeal by the employee.

The Tribunal, after taking into consideration the record of the domestic inquiry, finally arrived at the conclusion that inquiry was fair and proper and the charges stood proved.

It, however, observed that the punishment awarded to the employee of dismissal is not commensurate with the charge levelled against him and substituted the punishment of dismissal with an order of reinstatement after lowering down of two stages in his basic salary.

The order was upheld by the Patna High Court which was challenged by the bank before the apex court.  Source: Business Standard