The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal filed by the State Bank of India in a matter related to the dismissal of an employee from the service on the ground that the Appointing Authority granted him an opportunity of hearing.

The appeal challenged the judgment passed by the Patna High Court that dismissed the bank’s appeal and confirmed the order of the Single Bench.

The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Bela M. Trivedi held, “The said order of Appointing Authority dismissing the respondent from service after granting opportunity of hearing to the respondent was in consonance with the direction given by this Court and could not be said to be arbitrary illegal or in violation of Rule 19(3) of the said 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.”

The Bench said that since all the contentions were kept open by the Apex Court while allowing the appeal, as such no affirmative action was expected from the bank, as sought to be submitted by the counsel for the respondent.

ASG Balbir Singh appeared on behalf of the appellant i.e., the bank while Advocate Kripa Shankar Prasad appeared for the respondent i.e., the employee.

Facts of the Case –

The respondent while posted as a Branch Manager at various branches of SBI was found to have committed numerous lapses, in respect of which he was suspended in terms of Rule 50A(i)(a) of SBIOSR, 1992. The Disciplinary Authority called upon the respondent to make his submissions on the same. However, thereafter the matter was sent to the Appointing Authority, which imposed the penalty of “Dismissal from Service”.

The respondent being aggrieved by the said order filed a writ petition before the High Court which came to be allowed by the Single Bench. The appellant aggrieved by the said order approached the Division Bench which stayed the implementation of the order but finally dismissed its prayer. In the meantime, the respondent attained the age of superannuation.

The Supreme Court after hearing the contentions of both parties observed, “Though the said order of dismissal was set aside by the Single Bench, the order of Single Bench had remained stayed pending the LPA filed by the Bank; and though the LPA was dismissed by the Division Bench, the said order in LPA was set aside by this Court, observing that the person who hears the matter has to decide it.”

The Court further took note of the fact that the appointing authority after issuing a show-cause notice and granting the opportunity of hearing to the respondent passed the order of dismissal of service.

Accordingly, the Apex Court allowed the appeal and set aside the order passed by the High Court.

Cause Title- State Bank of India & Ors. v. Kamal Kishore Prasad

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