Srivastav Vs. United Commercial Bank & ANR  INSC 362 (31 March 1997)
RAMASWAMY, D.P. WADHWA
O R D
E R Delay condoned.
special leave petition arises from the judgment of the single judge of the
Madhya Pradesh High Court, Jabalpur Bench, made on 28.10.1996 in W.P.. No.4472/96.
charge-sheet has been given to the petitioner on the allegation that he
sanctioned loan for non-existing fictitious persons and got disbursement of
demand drafts mentioned in the charge-sheet within two days, i.e. December 10,
1990 and December 11,1990 in favour of M/s. Sudarshan Trading Co. of Bhopal for
Rs.2,80,000/-. on the basis thereof, the respondents imputed that the
petitioner committed the misconduct. An enquiry had been initiated and is now
being proceeded against him he filed an application for permission to engage
the services of an advocate. The permission was refused. In the writ petition,.
the petitioner contended that the chargesheet was filed against him in the
criminal court for the self-same offence. in view of the fact that the matter
is pending in the criminal Court, an assistance of the advocate is necessary.
Since presenting officer of the Bank is a law graduate, denial of the
assistance of the advocate is violative of principles of natural justice. The
High Court has held that since the facts are not complicated and the presenting
officer of the Bank is not a legally trained person, assistance of an advocate
is not mandatory in the domestic enquiry. On these simple facts, he could
himself or through any other employee defend the case without the assistance of
an advocate. On that basis, the High Court has held that denial of assistance
of an advocate is not violative of principles of natural justice.
counsel for the petitioner contends that since the chargesheet has already been
filed and criminal trial is pending, any enquiry conducted against the
petitioner himself or any of the officer, as notified in para 19.12 of the
bi-partite settlement, would prejudicially affect the petitioner's case and
therefore, the denial of the assistance of an advocate is violative of the
principles of natural justice. we find no force in the contention.
the Rule 19.12 of the bi-partite settlement, the permission to defend himself
with the assistance of the advocate is one of the option to be given by the
Bank. We have perused the chargesheet in the enquiry now sought to be proceeded
against the petitioner . The allegations are very simple and they are not
complicated. Under these circumstances, we do not think that the failure to
permit the petitioner to engage an advocate is violative of the principles of
the natural justice.
special leave petition is accordingly dismissed .