Bank of India Vs. S.S. Koshal  INSC 18 (12 January 1994)
Reddy, B.P. (J) Jeevan Reddy, B.P. (J) Hansaria B.L. (J)
1994 SCC Supl. (2) 468
This appeal is preferred against the judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court
allowing the writ petition filed by the respondent. The respondent was the
Branch Manager in the State Bank of India, Bhopal branch. A disciplinary inquiry was
held against him in respect of six charges. The Enquiry Officer held charges 1
and 5 established but held that charges 2, 3, 4 and 6 were not established.
After perusing the report of the Enquiry Officer the disciplinary authority
agreed with the Enquiry Officer that charges 1 and 5 are established and
charges 3 and 4 are not established.
as charge 2 is concerned he disagreed with the Enquiry Officer. The
disciplinary authority held that the said charge to have been fully
established. So far as charge 6 is concerned, he again disagreed with the
Enquiry Officer and held it partially established. Accordingly, he imposed the
punishment of removal from service by an order dated 8-5-1984. The respondent filed an appeal to the appellate
authority prescribed by the service regulations.
appellate authority dismissed the appeal on 25-1-1985 under the following order:
reference to your appeal dated 31-8- 1984, we have to advise that the said
appeal was placed by us before the Local Board, the appellate authority, on 25-1-1985. We further advise that the Board in the meeting
held on the aforesaid date, resolved as under:
BOARD considered at length the facts of the case including the fact that the
disciplinary authority has differed from the findings of the inquiring
authority in respect of two charges. After having considered the appeal and
other relevant papers and having applied their minds, the Board concluded that
there are no grounds to sustain the appeal and accordingly RESOLVED that the
order of the disciplinary authority be upheld and that the appeal made by Shri
S.S. Koshal, be dismissed." + Arising out of SLP (C) No. 8147 of 1992 470
respondent then approached the High Court by way of a writ petition, wherein he
urged three grounds viz.,
[N]on-supply of copy of the Enquiry Officer's report,
failure to give a fresh notice to him when the appellate authority disagreed
with the findings of the Enquiry Officer on some of the charges, and
fact that the appellate authority passed a non-speaking order in violation of
the principles of natural justice.
High Court upheld all the three grounds and allowed the writ petition against
which the present appeal is preferred.
first contention stands negatived by the Constitution Bench decision in
Managing Director, ECIL, Hyderabad v. B. Karunakar1, inasmuch as the
order of punishment is prior to 20-11-1990.
far as the second ground is concerned, we are unable to see any substance in
it. No such fresh opportunity is contemplated by the regulations nor can such a
requirement be deduced from the principles of natural justice. It may be
remembered that the Enquiry Officer's report is not binding upon the
disciplinary authority and that it is open to the disciplinary authority to
come to its own conclusion on the charges. It is not in the nature of an appeal
from the Enquiry Officer to the disciplinary authority. It is one and the same
proceeding. It is open to a disciplinary authority to hold the inquiry himself.
It is equally open to him to appoint an Enquiry Officer to conduct the inquiry
and place the entire record before him with or without his findings. But in
either case, the final decision is to be taken by him on the basis of the
material adduced. This also appears to be the view taken by one of us (B.P. Jeevan
Reddy, J.) as a Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Mahendra Kumar v.
Union of India'. The second contention accordingly stands rejected.
coming to the third ground on which the High Court has allowed the writ
petition, the relevant rule [Rule 51(2)] reads as follows:
appeal shall be preferred within 45 days from date of receipt of the order
appealed against. The appeal shall be addressed to the appellate authority and
submitted to the authority whose order is appealed against.
may, if he so desires, submit an advance copy to the appellate authority. The
authority whose order is appealed against shall forward the appeal together
with its comments and records of the case to the appellate authority. The
appellate authority shall consider whether the findings are justified and/or
whether the penalty is excessive or inadequate. Authority may pass an order
confirming, enhancing, reducing or setting aside the penalty or remitting the
case to the authority which imposed the penalty or to any other authority with
such directions as it deems fit in the circumstances of the case."
High Court has taken the view that the rule requires the appellate authority to
pass a speaking order even if it is an order of affirmance. For the purpose of
this case, we shall assume the said view to be the correct one. Even so we are
not satisfied that the appellate order is not a speaking order. We have already
extracted the appellate order in full hereinbefore, which shows that it 1
(1993) 4 SCC 727: 1993 SCC (L&S) 1184: (1993) 25 ATC 704: JT (1993) 6 SC 1
2 (1983) 3 SLR 319, 324 & 325 (AP HC) 471 considered at length the facts of
the case including the fact that the appellate authority (sic disciplinary
authority) had differed from the findings of the Enquiry Officer in respect of
the two charges. The appellate authority then says that it considered the
relevant grounds of appeal and after considering the facts of the case came to
the conclusion that there was no substance in the appeal.
view of the fact that it was an order of affirmance, we are of the opinion that
it was not obligatory on the part of the appellate authority to say more than
this as the order as it is, shows application of mind. The order cannot be characterised
as a non-speaking order.
the above reasons, the appeal is allowed. The order of the High Court is set
aside and the order of punishment is restored. No costs.