State Bank of Mysore
& Others etc. Vs. M.C. Krishnappa
M.C. Krishnappa Vs. State
Bank of Mysore represented by its Managing Director & Ors.
J UD G M E N T
Aftab Alam, J.
respondent - M.C. Krishnappa is an employee of the appellant - State Bank of
Mysore. He was originally inducted in the service of the bank in the clerical
cadre but at the material time, by virtue of promotions, he was in the Junior
Management Grade Scale-I. He was served with a charge sheet on September 25,
1990. The charges, in brief, were as under:- "a) Prepared and passed a withdrawal
slip for Rs.10,000/- on 29.05.1989 in the Savings Bank account No.4738 of Smt. Lalithamma
despite being aware that there was no sufficient balance in the said account and
derived pecuniary gain for himself. "b) Caused fraudulent withdrawal of
Rs.6,000/- on 02.03.1989 in the Savings Bank account No.941 of Shri N.
Narayanappa, without posting the voucher in the said account and to conceal his
acts, he had checked the ledgers on the day the voucher was passed."
charges were duly established in a departmental enquiry following which the
disciplinary authority passed the order of his removal from service on February
8, 1993. The respondent made an appeal against the order passed by the disciplinary
authority but it was rejected by the appellate authority by order dated July
28, 1993. The respondent took the matter before the Reviewing Authority where
he was able to partial relief. The Reviewing Authority, by order dated April 2,
1994, modified the respondent's punishment and reduced it from removal from service
to demotion from the cadre of Junior Management Grade Scale-I to the cadre of
clerk with a further bar against promotion for a period of seven years.
respondent rejoined the service, accepting the punishment given to him in terms
of the review order. But after the expiry of the period of seven years, he moved
the Karnataka High Court; challenging the punishment awarded to him, in Writ Petition
No.40666 of 2001 (S-RES) which was partly allowed by judgment and order dated April
21, 2006 passed by a learned single judge of the High Court.
was contended on behalf of the respondent that regulation 67(e) of the State Bank
of Mysore Officer's Service Regulations, 1979 permitted reduction of rank of an
Officer to a lower rank in the Officer Grade itself and the respondent, therefore,
could not have been demoted to the cadre of clerks. A grievance was also made
in regard to the bar against promotion for the period of seven years. The learned
single judge noted that the only grievance of the Writ Petitioner (the respondent
in this appeal) was in relation to the levy of penalty.
He rejected the contention
that the Writ Petitioner could not be put down in the clerk's cadre and his
demotion could only be confined to a lower rank in the Officer Grade itself. The
learned judge, however, felt that the bar against promotion for the period of
seven years was quite harsh and in that connection observed as follows:- "There
is some force in the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that
total punishment levied on the petitioner is too harsh and disproportionate to
the charge levelled against the petitioner. xxx xxx xxx Having regard to the
nature of charges, I am of the view that the total penalty levied on the petitioner
is little more harsh and shocks my conscience.
The petitioner having
been demoted from the Officer cadre to the cadre of Clerk, must be given an opportunity
to improve himself and if he improves, he should be promoted to further higher
cadre if he is so entitled. The total bar on any promotion for a period of long
years is too harsh and requires to be modified. If the petitioner improves his performance,
his integrity and his devotion to work in the cadre of Clerk, he should not be
denied further promotion from that cadre."
taken the view as appearing from the above, the single judge set aside the bar
of promotion against the respondent for the period of seven years subject to
the qualification, however, that the order will not affect the promotion of
other employees and their seniority.
the judgment and order passed by the single judge both, the appellant (the bank)
and the respondent, preferred intra-court appeals. A Division Bench of the High
Court, however, dismissed both, Writ Appeal No.915 of 2006(S-RES) (filed by the
respondent - Writ Petitioner) and Writ Appeal No.989 of 2006(S-RES) (filed by
the appellants) by judgment and order dated July 19, 2007. The Division Bench
did not find any illegality in the order passed by the single judge and rather
agreed with the view taken by him that the punishment barring promotion for
seven years was too harsh and that it required to be set aside.
are unable to agree with the view taken by the High Court. It is well settled
that punishment is primarily a function of the Management and the courts rarely
interfere with the quantum of punishment. (See: Administrator, UT of Dadra
& Nagar Haveli v. Gulabhia M. Lad
this case the proven charge against the respondent was of financial irregularities
and of making fraudulent withdrawals deriving pecuniary gain for himself. In a bank
an offence of this kind is one of the most serious offences and the disciplinary
authority had passed an order of removal against the respondent. In the facts
of the case even that punishment could not be said to be unreasonable or unduly
harsh. The Reviewing Authority modified the order of punishment and gave him a lighter
punishment instead. At that time the respondent accepted it without ado. In
those facts we fail to see any scope for interference with the punishment on a purely
subjective view taken by the High Court.
are, therefore, constrained to interfere in the matter. The judgments and
orders of the High Court are set aside and the Writ Petition filed by the
respondent is dismissed. The appeals arising out of SLP (Civil) Nos.
20719-20720 of 2008 are, accordingly, allowed.
is made clear that the period of seven years during which the bar against the
respondent's promotion was operating is long over. In case, after the expiry of
the period of the bar the respondent is found fit for promotion in terms of the
relevant rules he would undoubtedly be entitled to get it in accordance with
view of the order passed in civil appeals arising out of SLP(C) Nos.20719-20720
of 2008, this appeal stands dismissed.