Chanan Singh Vs. Registrar, Co-Op.
Societies, Punjab & Ors  INSC 59 (18 March 1976)
CITATION: 1976 AIR 1821 1976 SCR (3) 685 1976
SCC (3) 36
Imputation of misconduct against bank-employee-Enquiry
by Secretary of bank-Explanation accepted and proceedings dropped-Revival of
proceedings by Managing Director-No present grievance of punitive action-Writ
Misconduct was imputed to the appellant by
his employer, the second respondent. The then Secretary of the bank enquired
into the allegations and, after issuing a notice to the appellant for showing
cause against punishment, accepted his explanation and dropped the proceedings.
Thereafter, the Managing Director of the Bank opined that the said Secretary
was not empowered to punish a bank -employee, and therefore, the proceedings
culminating in the exoneration of the appellant were invalid. The proceedings
were revived, and the appellant was suspended.
His writ petition under Arts. 226 and 227 was
dismissed by the High Court. On appeal by special leave, the appellant
challenged the revival of the proceedings against him, as illegal and opposed
to natural justice.
Dismissing the appeal, the Court.
HELD: (1) There is no present grievance of
punitive action which can be ventilated in court. The writ petition is
premature since no action has been taken finally, against the appellant. [687A]
(2) The co-operative bank has not been able to show any power to suspend an employee
pending an enquiry. If that be so, the suspension of the appellant is plainly
without the pale of law. [687B]
CIVIL APPELLATE; JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 1137 of 1976.
Appeal by Special Leave from the Judgment and
Order dated the 14-8-75 of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in C.W. No. 3995
J. Ramamurthi for the Appellants.
Janendra Lal and B. R. Agarwala for
Respondents 2 and 3 The Judgment of the Court was delivered by KRISHNA IYER, J.
This appeal, by special leave, lends itself to a quick burial in view of the
brief facts set out below.
The appellant has been an employee of the
second respondent. A notice was issued to him to show cause why disciplinary
action should not be taken against him for certain items of misconduct imputed
to him. The then Secretary of the bank, Shri Daljit Singh, enquired into the
allegations. Thereafter, on April 1, 1975 the Secretary issued a notice to the
appellant to show cause why his next increment should not be stopped by way of
punishment; A reply was sent by the appellant by way of explanation and the
Secretary accepting the explanation dropped the proceedings by order dated
April 9, 1975 686 (Annexure III). Thereafter, the Managing Director taking the
view that Shri Daljit Singh, Secretary, had no power to inflict punishment on
the employees of the bank and that therefore the proceedings culminating in the
exoneration of the appellant were invalid issued a fresh memorandum which
"After considering the said enquiry
report along with other relevant documents, I am provisionally of the view to
impose upon you a penalty of dismissal from bank services. Before doing so, you
are asked to show cause within 21 days from the receipt of this memorandum, why
on account of findings of the said Enquiry Officer, into the charges, you
should not be dismissed from the bank services. In case no reply is received
within the prescribed period, it will be presumed that you have no reply in
this behalf and the proposed punishment will be imposed." The appellant
was also suspended on the same date, viz., 7th July 1975.
Thereupon, a writ petition under Arts.
226/227 was moved by the appellant challenging the revival of the proceedings
against him as illegal and opposed to natural justice.
The first point raised in objection by the
second respondent is that the writ petition is premature since no action has
been taken finally against the appellant, the disciplinary proceedings are
still pending and the explanation of the appellant is under consideration. It
is only in the event of the appellant being punished that any grievance can
arise for him to be agitated in the proper forum.
Other obstacles in the way of granting the
appellant relief were also urged before the High Court and before us, but we
are not inclined to investigate them for the short reason that the writ
petition was in any case premature. No punitive action has yet been taken. It
is difficult to state, apart from speculation, what the outcome of the
proceedings will be. In case the appellant is punished, it is certainly open to
him either to file an appeal as provided in the relevant rules or to take other
action that he may be advised to resort to. It is not for us, at the moment, to
consider whether a writ petition will lie or whether an industrial dispute
should be raised or whether an appeal to the competent authority under the
rules is the proper remedy, although these are issues which merit serious
We are satisfied that, enough unto the day
being the evil thereof, we need not dwell on problems which do not arise in the
light of the 687 view we take that there is no present grievance of punitive
action which can be ventilated in court. After all, even the question of
jurisdiction to re-open what is claimed to be a closed enquiry will, and must,
be considered by the Managing Director. On this score, we dismiss the appeal
but, in the circumstances, without costs.
Before parting with this case, we would like
to make it clear that counsel for the co-operative bank has not been able to
show any power to suspend an employee pending an enquiry. If that be so, the
suspension of the appellant is plainly without the pale of law and he would be
entitled to his salary during the period till final orders are passed.
Since the matter has been pending long
enough, we are assured by counsel for the respondent that final orders may be
passed within one month from to-day.
M.R. Appeal dismissed.