Sonali Bank Vs. Md. Zalaluddin and others

Case No: Civil Appeal No. 186 of 2000

Judge: Md. Tafazzul Islam ,

Court: Appellate Division ,,

Advocate: Mr. Mohammad Nazrul Islam,Mr. Abdur Razzaque Khan,,

Citation: V ADC (2008) 96

Case Year: 2008

Appellant: Sonali Bank Vs. Md. Zalaluddin and others

Respondent: Sonali Bank Vs. Md. Zalaluddin and others

Subject: Administrative Law,

Delivery Date: 2007-2-1

Sonali Bank

 Vs.

 Md. Zalaluddin and others, 2007,

V ADC (2008) 96

 

 

Supreme Court
Appellate Division

(Civil)
 

Present
Md.Ruhul Amin J
MM Ruhul Amin
J
Md. Tafazzul Islam J
 
Sonali Bank ..................................Appellant

Vs.

Md. Zalaluddin and others ……….....Respondents
 
Judgment
February 1, 2007.
 
Sonali Bank Employees Services Regulations, 1981
Regulation 28 (b)(c)(d)&(h)
The Appellate Tribunal failed to appreciate that the respondent No.1 was posted twice temporarily in the concerned branch only in order to afford him opportunities to regularizes the loan-cases and also to take steps to recover the loans and as such he was fully aware of the irregularities in respect of the concerned loan cases and accordingly the principle of natural justice were neither violated nor he was prejudiced in any manner and the respondent No.1 was afforded all opportunities to defend his case and also after complying with all the provisions of the Service Regulations and on satisfying the principles of natural justice the respondent No. 1 was ultimately dismissed from the service for this misconduct.
 
Lawyers Involved:
Abdur Razzaque Khan, Senior Advocate, instructed by AKM Shahidul Huq, Advocate-on-Record-For   the Appellant.           
 Mohammad Nazrul Islam, Senior Advocate, instructed by Md. Aftab Hossain, Advocate-on-Record- For the Respondent.

Civil Appeal No. 186 of 2000
(From the judgment and order dated 20.7.1997 passed by the Administrative Appellate Tribunal Appeal No. 163 of 1995).

 

Judgment:

                Md. Tafazzul Islam J.- This appeal, by leave, is directed against the judgment and order dated 20.7.1997 of the Administrative Appellate Tribunal passed in Administrative Tribunal Appeal No.163 of 1995 allowing the appeal reversing the judgment and order dated 28.9.97 of the Administrative Tribunal Bogra passed in Administrative Tribunal Case No.44 of 1995 dismissing the case.

2.  The respondent No.1 filed the above Administrative Tribunal Case No. 44 of 1995 on the averments that while he was serving as the Manager of Sonali Bank, Mongalbarihat Branch, Naogaon a depart­mental proceeding was started against him by issuing show cause notice dated 16.2.1993 containing allegations of negli­gence of duties, breach of instructions, misuse of power etc on 12 heads of charges under Regulation 28(b)(c)(d) and (h) of Sonali Bank Employees Services Regulations 1981 with a direction to sub­mit written reply to the inquiry officer and he duly submitted his written reply deny­ing the allegations made against him and thereafter he was served with a notice dated 15.6.1994 to show cause as to why he should not be dismissed from service to which he submitted a reply pleading inno­cence and thereafter the Assistant General Manager, Disciplinary Cases Division, Sonali Bank, the respondent No.4, by order dated 28.3.1994 dismissed him from service.

3.The respondent No.4 contested the above case by filing written statement contending that in the year 1984 some irregularities were committed by the respondent No.1 while he was serving as Manager at Mongaibarihat Branch which was enquired into and ultimately he was let off with a censure and at a subsequent stage a huge number of irregularities having been detected in the above Branch during his tenure, the respondent No.1 was again posted at that Branch twice affording him adequate opportunities for regularising all the irregular loans but, he  failed to do anything for protection of the  interest of the appellant Bank and so he  was proceeded against on 12 heads of charges by the competent authority and the enquiry officer, after holding enquiry according to Rules, found him guilty on all other charges except for charge No. 4 and thereafter, on consideration of the entire record, a second notice to show cause was issued upon the respondent No.1 with the approval of the Managing Director of the Bank and ultimately he was dismissed from the service by the Board of Directors of Sonali Bank on the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee and no illegally or irregularity was committed in the disciplinary proceedings taken against the respondent No.1

4. The learned Tribunal, after hearing, dismissed the above case on the findings that the charges were framed by the Deputy General Manager, the competent authority and the order of dismissal was also passed by the competent authority and the allegations of misconduct against the respondent No. 1 were also duly proved.

5. As against that the respondent No. 1 filed Administrative Appellate Tribunal Appeal No. 63 of 1995 and, after hearing, the Administrative Appellate Tribunal allowed the appeal holding that charge No.1 contained a list of 115 loan cases wherein, as submitted by the appellant Bank, the respondent No.1 deliberately and in violation of circulars, sanctioned and disbursed loan to the tune of Tk.2,53,400/-but the enquiry officer nei­ther recorded a definite finding that the respondent No.1 violated any particular instruction in sanctioning and disturbing particular loan or loans of the entire 115 cases nor the enquiry office recorded any positive finding of fictitious or benami character of particular loan or of all the loans of entire 115 cases; the contents of circular referred to in the charges were not disclosed to the respondent No.1 although in the show cause it was alleged that the instructions given in those circulars were violated by the respondent No.1 and before the inquiry officer no evidence was also led showing violation of instructions and the enquiry officer also did not record any finding that the respondent No.1 vio­lated particular instruction in sanctioning and disbursing particular loan nor gave any positive finding that particular loan was of fictitious or benami character; the inquiry was not held according to the pre­scribed procedure and the rule of natural justice was violated; although the Tribunal was not required to act like a Court of appeal but it has the power to interfere with the order of an authority when the authority commits manifest error of law or its finding is without any basis; in the present case there was failure to follow relevant provision of law and there was also violation of principal of natural jus­tice due to which the entire proceeding has vitiated.

6. Leave was granted on the submissions that Administrative Appellate Tribunal erred in law in holding that the enquiry officer dealt with 115 cases included in the charge No.1 alone leaving aside the other charges  out of consideration and the Administrative Appellate Tribunal failed to consider that the enquiry report shows that the enquiry officer dealt with all the 12  specific heads of charges and that Administrative Appellate Tribunal also failed to consider that finding of guilt in some cases  should be enough for the authority to dismiss the respondent No. 1.

7. We have heard the learned counsels and perused the records.

8. As it appears the learned Administrative  Appellate Tribunal, on examination of the records agreed with the finding of the Administrative Tribunal that the respondent No.4 the Assistant General Manager, placed the decision regarding to initiation of departmental proceeding against the respondent No.1 before the Deputy  General Manager, Sonali Bank, for decision to be taken by him and the Deputy General Manager took decision to initiate departmental proceeding against the respondent No.1 which was also approved by the competent authority and the  respondent No.4, merely sent the charge sheet to the respondent No.1, further the decision to dismiss the respondent No.1 from service was taken in a Board Meeting of Sonali Bank and further the penalty upon the respondent No.1 was also imposed by the competent authority and the respondent No.4 merely communicated the decision in this regard. It also appears that the learned Administrative Tribunal found that the allegation regarding irregularities made by the respondent No.1 in advancements of agricultural loans were proved in the departmental inquiry by documents in as much as the respondent No. 1 did not obtain the signature of the local chairman and member of the Union Parishad on the loan applications and further in many loan cases the respondent No.1 did not even put his own signatures and accordingly his irregularities being proved, the respondent No.1, being a responsible officer of the appellant Bank, can not be allowed to continue in his service.                                             

9. It further appears the Appellate Tribunal erroneously found fault with the appellant for not disclosing the contents of the concerned circulars as because the respondent No.1, being a responsible officer of the appellant Bank, was fully aware of the circulars and in that view of matter he neither in his reply to the notices to first and second show cause nor in his petition before the Administrative Tribunal did not state that he had no knowledge of the circulars regarding agricultural loans; further regarding the finding of the Appellate Tribunal that the inquiry officer dealt with  the 115 cases included in the charge No.1 alone leaving the other charges out of consideration the inquiry report shows that the inquiry officer dealt with all the 12 charges and in any view of the matter further findings of faults in some cases are  enough for the appellant Bank to dismiss the respondent No.1. As it appears that the Appellate Tribunal failed to consider that the charges of neglect of duties, breach of instructions, misuse of power were brought against the respondent No. 1 and the inquiry officer, from the records kept in the branch, found that there were number of irregularities in disbursing loan such as there were no recommendations from the concerned field assistants in respect of 89 loan cases, there were no approval of loans by the Manager, there were no witness or guarantors in respect of 70 loan cases, recommendations by the Chairman and members of the concerned Union Parishad were also not taken in any of the loan cases. As such the inquiry offi­cer justifiably found the respondent No.1 guilty of negligence, irresponsibility, vio­lation of instructions of the concerned authority. It also appears that the Appellate Tribunal failed to appreciate that the respondent No.1 was posted twice tem­porarily in the concerned branch only in order to afford him opportunities to regu­larizes the loan-cases and also to take steps to recover the loans and as such he was fully aware of the irregularities in respect of the concerned loan-cases and accordingly the principles of natural jus­tice were neither violated nor he was prej­udiced in any manner and the respondent No.1 was afforded all opportunities to defend his case and also after complying with all the provisions of the Service Regulations and on satisfying the princi­ples of natural justice the respondent No.1 was ultimately dismissed from the serv­ice for this misconduct. The Appellate Tribunal also failed to appreciate that even after the dismissal of the respondent No.1, on his prayer he was again given personal hearing by the Review/appeal and disci­plinary Committee of the Board of Directors of the Bank and as such, the principles of natural justice, were also complied with in disposing of his petition for review of his penalty.

10. Accordingly the appeal is allowed with the modification that the order of dis­missal is converted into order of compul­sory retirement with effect from the date of order of dismissal. There will be no order as to cost.
Ed.