State Bank of India & Ors. V Kamal Kishore Prasad

Case number: Civil Appeal No. 175 of 2023

Name of the Judges: Hon’ble Judges Krishna Murari and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ.

Oder dated: 09.01.2023

Facts of the case:

  1. The respondent was found to have broken many rules while serving as a Branch Manager at different SBI branches, and as a result, he was suspended under Rule 50A(i)(a) of the SBIOSR, 1992. The Respondent was asked by the Disciplinary Authority to provide his arguments regarding the matter. The matter was then forwarded to the Appointing Authority, who issued the punishment of “Dismissal from Service.”
  2. Because of the stated order, the respondent filed a writ case with the High Court, which the Single Bench ultimately decided to grant. Angered by the aforementioned order, the appellant went to the Division Bench, which initially blocked its execution but ultimately denied its request. The respondent reached the age of retirement in the interim.
  3. The order dated 22.04.2010 issued by the Division Bench was challenged by the Appellant-Bank in SLP (C) No. 16541 of 2010, which was later approved by this Court on 25.11.2013. The Court allowed this appeal and overturned the decision and order made by the High Court’s Division Bench in Letters Patent Appeal No. 378 of 2003.
  4. The Appointing Authority sent the Respondent a show-cause notice on February 6, 2014, in response to which the Respondent provided his response on February 10, 2014, in light of the aforementioned order made by this Court. The Respondent was given a personal hearing by the Appointing Authority on February 14, 2014, and on February 17, 2014, the Appointing Authority issued an order imposing on the Respondent the penalty of “Dismissal from Service” in accordance with Rule 67(J) of SBISOR effective November 11, 1999, and treating his period of suspension as not on duty.
  5. The respondent, who had been wronged by the aforementioned order made by the appointing authority, filed a departmental appeal with the appellate authority on February 24, 2014, however it was later dismissed on August 9, 2014. In order to re-contact the High Court, the respondent filed CWJC No. 10192 of 2014. By ruling dated August 22, 2016, the Single Bench of the High Court accepted the aforementioned petition, cancelled and reversed the Appellant-dismissal Bank’s decision, and ordered the Appellant-Bank to pay all consequential benefits—including salary and retirement arrears—within three months. On October 17, 2016, the aggrieved appellant-bank filed LPA No. 2035 of 2016, which the Division Bench ultimately dismissed in the impugned judgement dated February 1. Rule 19(1) and Rule 19(3) of the SBIOSR Rules are reprinted for convenience since the knowledgeable attorney for the respondent heavily relied on them.

Hon’ble Supreme Court observed/held as follows:

  • According to the directive granted by this Court, the aforementioned order of the appointing authority dismissing the respondent from service after giving the respondent a chance to be heard was not arbitrary, illegal, or in breach of Rule 19(3) of the aforementioned Rules. The impugned order of the High Court setting aside the said order of dismissal being under misconception of facts and law deserves to be quashed and set aside.
  • Even though the Single Bench had set aside the aforementioned order of dismissal, the Single Bench’s decision had been stayed pending the Bank’s LPA, which had in turn been dismissed by the Division Bench. This Court then set aside the Division Bench’s decision, noting that the person who hears the case must make the final decision.
  • The Court additionally noted that the order of dismissal of service was made by the appointing authority following the issuance of a show-cause notice and the chance for the respondent to be heard. As a result, the Hon’ble Supreme Court upheld the appeal and reversed the High Court’s decision.

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