State Bank of India
& Ors. Vs. Ranjit Kumar Chakraborty & ANR.  INSC 1259 (30 July
JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3233 OF 2005 STATE BANK OF INDIA & ORS. ..
APPELLANTS vs. ORDER Heard learned counsel for both the parties.
We have gone through
the order passed by the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court and we are in
full agreement with the same.
The respondent was
charge-sheeted and an informal enquiry was held against him and he was found
guilty of all the charges except one charge.
Disciplinary Authority was not competent to pass a major penalty.
Therefore, all the
papers were placed before the competent authority for passing the major
penalty. The Appointing Authority passed the major penalty of dismissal from
service without hearing delinquent.
This was challenged
by filing a writ petition before the High Court of Calcutta. Learned Single
Judge dismissed the petition and the appeal filed by the delinquent is
succeeded. The Court interpreted the Rule 68(3)(iii) which reads as under:
-2- "If the
Disciplinary Authority, having regard to its findings on all or any of the
articles of charge, is of the opinion that any of the penalties specified in
rule 67 should be imposed on the officer, it shall, notwithstanding anything
contained in sub- rule (4), make an order imposing such penalty.
Provided that where
the Disciplinary Authority is of the opinion that the penalty to be imposed is
any of the major penalties specified in clauses (e), (f), (g) and (h) of rule
67 and it is lower in rank to the Appointing Authority in respect of the
category of officers to which the officer belongs, it shall submit to the
Appointing Authority the records of the enquiry specified in clause (xxi) (b)
of sub-rule (2), together with its recommendations regarding the penalty that
may be imposed and the Appointing Authority shall make an order imposing such
penalty as it considers in its opinion appropriate."
In this case the
respondent was punished with a major penalty was not heard. Therefore, the
order of removal was set aside. We have been taken through the Rule 68(3)(iii)
and we are in full agreement with the view taken by the High Court. When the
Disciplinary Authority is not competent to pass a major penalty, that is, of
the removal or other major penalty prescribed in the Rule, the papers are
required to be placed by the Disciplinary Authority to the Appointing Authority
who is competent to pass a major penalty. In the present case Disciplinary
Authority was not -3- competent to pass major penalty, therefore, matter was
placed before the Appointing Authority & Appointing Authority passed major
penalty of dismissal without hearing delinquent. Such order which is on the
face of it is against the principles of natural justice, cannot be countenanced
as it is void initio. The proviso certainly says that the Appointing Authority,
on the recommendation given by the Disciplinary Authority, shall be competent
to pass the major penalty. Simply by recommending the matter and sending the
papers to the Appointing Authority, does not mean that the incumbent who is
going to be served with the major penalty is not required to be heard in the
matter. It is now settled principle that where ever the Rule is silent the
principles of natural justice shall be read in it. A hearing should be given to
a person who is being punished with a major penalty. Therefore, the principle
of natural justice has to be read in this Rule. A notice ought to have been
issued to the delinquent by the Authority to whom papers were sent to show
cause why the major penalty may not be imposed on -4- him. It is true that the
competent authority could pass the order of major penalty but not without hearing
the incumbent. Therefore, in this context of the matter, we are of the opinion
that the view taken by the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court is correct
and there is no ground for interference in this appeal.
appeal is dismissed.
No order as to costs.