The Chairman, Janata Bank and others Vs. Shah Moudul-Ul Masavi Khansur [4 LNJ AD (2015) 147]

Case No: Civil Appeal No. 123 Of 2002

Judge: Md. Abdul Wahhab Miah,

Court: Appellate Division ,,

Advocate: Md. Aftab Hossain,Mr. Khaled Ahmed,,

Citation: 4 LNJ AD (2015) 147

Appellant: The Chairman, Janata Bank and others

Respondent: Shah Moudul-Ul Masavi Khansur

Subject: Writ Jurisdiction, Administrative Tribunal,

Delivery Date: 2013-09-25


APPELLATE DIVISION
(CIVIL)
 
 
Surendra Kumar Sinha, J,
Md. Abdul Wahhab Miah, J,
Hasan Foez Siddique, J,
A. H. M. Shamsuddin Chowdhury, J.

Judgment on
25.09.2013
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The Chairman, Janata Bank and others
...Appellants
Versus
Shah Moudul-Ul-Masavi Khansur
...Respondents
 
Constitution of Bangladesh, 1972
Article 117(2)
Administrative Tribunal Act (VII of 1981)
Sections 2(a) and 4
It is clear that the writ Petitioner, in fact, challenged or called in question the order of dismissal from his service and as such, the only forum that was available to him ventilating his grievances against such dismissal was the Administrative Tribunal under Section 4 read with section 2(a) of the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1980 (the Act, 1980) in view of the provisions of article 117(2) of the Constitution.      . . .(12)

Constitutions of Bangladesh, 1972
Article 117(2)
The Administrative Tribunal had all the jurisdiction to see the propriety of the order of dismissal even if the same was passed violating any of the provisions of the Service Rules of the Bank or any fundamental rights as guaranteed in Part-III of the Constitution. . . . (13)

Constitution of Bangladesh, 1972
Articles 102(1) & 117(2)
A person in the service of the Republic, who intends to invoke fundamental right for challenging the vires of a law, will seek his remedy under article 102(1), but in all other cases, he will be required to seek remedy under article 117(2) of the Constitution.  . . . (13)

Janata Bank Service Rule, 1995
Rule 49
Shelter under rule 49 of the Service Rules, 1995 could, in no way, be taken to strike down the dismissal order passed against the writ-petitioner. It needs to be kept on record that at the relevant time, there was no bar in dismissing an employee of the Bank pending disposal of a criminal case.    . . .(15)

Mujibur Rahman (Md.) -Vs- Government of Bangladesh and others 44 DLR (AD) (1992) 111 ref.
 
For the Appellants : Mr. Khaled Ahmed, Advocate (appeared with the leave of the Court) instructed by Mr. Md. Zahirul Islam, Advocate-on-Record.
For Respondent: Mr. Md. Aftab Hossain, Advocate-on-Record.

Civil Appeal No. 123 Of  2002
 
JUDGMENT
 
Md. Abdul Wahhab Miah, J:

This appeal, by leave, at the instance of the writ-respondents, is from the judgment and order dated the 12th day of December, 2000 passed by a Division Bench of the High Court Division in Writ Petition No.3497 of 1998 making the Rule absolute.
 
Facts giving rise to the appeal are that the sole respondent as petitioner (hereinafter referred to as the writ-petitioner) filed the writ petition before the High Court Division praying for the principal relief being as under:

“A) Issue Rule Nisi upon the Respondents to show cause as to why the impugned orders dated 1-7-90 (Annexure-C) and order dated 13-1-98 (Annexure-D) passed by the Bank Authority dismissing the petitioner should not be declared to have been passed without any lawful authority and of no legal effect and accordingly Rule was issued.” (The other prayers made in the writ petition being ancillary in nature are not quoted).
 
The case of the writ-petitioner as made out in the writ petition was that he was appointed as Junior Officer in Janata Bank (hereinafter referred to as the Bank) on 16.02.1978 and in course of time, was promoted to the post of Branch Manager and lastly was posted at Kagmari Branch, District-Tangail. While the writ-petitioner was serving at Kagmari, he was placed under suspension with effect from 18.12.1987 on the charge of defalcation of taka 22 lac and a criminal case was started against him. The writ-petitioner was arrested by the police on 24.12.1997. The Bank also instituted Money Suit Nos.22 of 1988 and 23 of 1988 against the writ-petitioner for realization of the said money alleged to have been defalcated by him. Criminal case being Tangail Police Station Case No.5 dated 24.12.1987 was investigated by the District Anti-Corruption Officer, Tangail who submitted final report on 31.03.1991 as no charge of misappropriation of the Bank money was established against the writ-petitioner. Money Suit No.22 of 1988 was dismissed on contest on 12.03.1997 against which the Bank filed First Appeal No.244 of 1997 which is pending, Money Suit No.23 of 1988 is still pending in the Court of the Subordinate Judge (now Joint District Judge) and Artha Rin Adalat, Tangail. In the meantime, the Bank dismissed the writ-petitioner from his service vide the letter dated 01.07.1990. The writ-petitioner on 26.08.1997 submitted written representation to the Chairman of the Bank (writ-respondent No.1), appellant No.1 herein to review the decision of his dismissal, but that was turned down and was informed to him by the letter dated 13.01.1998. In the circumstances, the writ-petitioner filed the writ petition for the relief as quoted hereinbefore.
 
Janata Bank contested the Rule by filing affidavit-in-opposition contending, inter alia, that the writ jurisdiction was not available to the writ-petitioner, he should have rather gone before the Administrative Tribunal to vindicate his grievances, if any.
 
On hearing the  Rule, a Division Bench of the High Court Division by the impugned judgment and order made the Rule absolute declaring the impugned orders to have been passed without lawful authority and were of no legal effect and also directed the writ-respondents, appellants herein to restore the writ-petitioner “to his service position as was on the date of his dismissal from that service with all the benefits which he is entitled to get under the service with all the benefits which he is entitled to get under the service rules.” 
 
Against the judgment and order of the High Court Division, the appellants filed Civil Petition for Leave to Appeal No.484 of 2001 before this Division. Leave was granted on 16.04.2002 to consider ground Nos.I and VII of the leave petition which are as follows:

“I. Because the . . . High Court Division failed to take into consideration that rule 49 of Janata Bank Employees Service Regulations, 1995 did not apply to the petitioner-respondent who was dismissed long before the said Regulations came into operation and that Janata Bank Employees Service Regulation, 1981 which applied to the petitioner-respondent did not contain provisions equivalent to rule 49 of Janata Bank Employees Services Regulations, 1995.
VII. Because the ... High Court Division failed to consider that the matter in issue was exclusively within the jurisdiction of Administrative Tribunal.”
 
Mr. Khaled Ahmed, learned Advocate, appearing for the appellants, has canvassed the two grounds quoted above on which leave was granted.
 
Mr. Md. Aftab Hossain, learned Advocate-on-Record, appearing for the writ-petitioner-respondent tried to justify the judgment and order passed by the High Court Division.
 
From the affidavit-in-opposition filed on behalf of Janata Bank as well as the impugned judgment and order, it is prima-facie clear that specific objection was taken by the writ-respondents to the effect that the writ petition was “incompetent and the writ-petitioner ought to have sought relief before the Administrative Tribunal” and in support of that objection the case of Mujibur Rahman(Md.)-Vs-Government of Bangladesh and others 44 DLR (AD) (1992) 111 was relied upon, but the High Court Division discarded the said objection on the view that the writ petition was “not against an order of dismissal from service simpliciter. Herein the petitioner challenges the impugned order on the ground that the order itself is per se without any lawful authority being violative of the Service Rules. We, therefore, find that the writ jurisdiction is not ousted in the instant case. The point raised by the petitioner as to the illegality of the impugned order has not been challenged seriously by the learned Advocate for the respondent-bank.”
 
Let us see whether the High Court Division was correct in overthrowing the objection of the respondent-Bank on the view as quoted hereinbefore.
 
From the prayer made in the writ petition (prayer has been quoted hereinbefore), it is crystal clear that the writ-petitioner challenged two orders as contained in annexures-‘C’ and ‘D’ passed by the respondent-Bank. By annexure-‘C’, the writ-petitioner was dismissed from the service of the Bank and by annexure-‘D’, his prayer to reconsider the order of dismissal passed against him was rejected. This will be further clear if we have a look at annexures-‘C’ and ‘D’ which read as follows:

জনতা ব্যাংক
১১০, মতিঝিল বাণিজ্যিক এলাকা, ঢাকা ১০০০, বাংলাদেশ
পি|ও|বক্ম নংঃ ৪৬৮, কেবলঃ জনতা ব্যাংক, টেলেক্ম ৬৫৮৪০ জেবিডি বিজে
ফোনঃ ২৪০০০০, ২৪০০২৭-৩০, ২৪০০৪২-৪৫
রেজিষ্টার্ড এ/ডি
প্রশাসন বিভাগ
 
(শৃংখলা ও অাপিল)
প্রশা(শৃঃ)/সচম/পিও-৮৬৭/৮৬/৯০ তারিখঃ
১৫-০৪-৯৭বাং
০১-০৭-৯৮ইং
জনাব এস|এম|এম| খান সুর
প্রিন্সিপাল অফিসার (সাময়িকভাবে বরাখাসতকৃত)
জনতা ব্যাংক
আঞ্চলিক কার্যালয়
টাংগাইল।
বিষয়ঃ- বরখাসেতর বিজ্ঞপ্তি
জনাব,
আমাদের প্রদত্ত ০২-০৫-৮৮ইং তারিখের অভিযোগপত্র নং প্রশা (শৃঃ ও আঃ)/এমএএস /১৯০/৮৮ এর পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে আপনাকে গত ০৪-১০-৮৮ ইং তারিখে তদমত বোর্ড এর সম্মুখে হাজির হওয়ার নির্দেশ দেওয়া হইয়াছিল। আপনি তদমত বোর্ড এর সামনে হাজির হইয়াছিলেন। তদমতকারী বোর্ড আপনার উপসিহতিতে তদমত কার্য্য সম্পাদন করতঃ তদানুযায়ী ১৩-১১-৮৮ ইং তারিখে আমাদের বরাবরে রিপোর্ট পেশ করনে এবং এর পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে গত ২২-০৭-৮৯ ইং তারিখে আমাদের পত্র নং প্রশা(শৃঃ ও আঃ)/হাঃকঃ/২৯১/৮৯ মারফত আপনাকে ""কারণ দর্শানোর নোটিশ'' প্রেরন করা হয় যাহার জবাব আপনি দিয়াছিলেন।
  1. তদমতকারী অফিসারের তদমত রিপোর্ট সামগ্রিকভাবে পর্যালোচনা কালে দেখায় যে, আপনার বিরতদ্ধে আনীত অভিযোগ সমূহ যথাযথভাবে প্রমানিত হইয়াছে।
  2. আপনার বিরতদ্ধে যে অভিযোগ সমূহ প্রতিষ্ঠিত হইয়াছে তাহা গুরততর অসদাচারনের পর্যায়ে পড়ে এবং শাসিত স্বরদপ বরখাসত যোগ্য।
  3. উপরোত্তু অবসহার পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে আপনাকে ব্যাংকের চাকুরী হইতে বরখাসত করার সিদ্ধামত গ্রহণ করা হইয়াছে।
  4. অতএব আপনাকে অনতিবিলম্বে ব্যাংকের চাকুরী হইতে বরখাসত করা হইল।
  5. অাপনার বরখাসতাদেশ যথাযথ কর্তৃপক্ষ কর্তৃক অনুমোদিত হইয়াছে।
  6. অাপনাকে ব্যাংকের দেনা পরিশোধ করার জন্য এবং ব্যাংক কর্তৃক দেয় পরিচিতিপত্র (যদি দেওয়া হইয়া থাকে) বাংকের নিকট ফেরত দেওয়ার জন্য নির্দেশ দেওয়া যাইতেছে।
  7. আপনি পুলিশ/কোর্ট কেসে দোষী সাব্যসত হইলে অাপনার বিরতদ্ধে সে মোতাবেক যে কোনরদপ শাসিতমূলক ব্যবসহা গ্রহণ করা হইবে।
অাপনার চাকুরীকালীন সময়ের কোন গাফিলতি বা অননুমোদিত কার্যাত্রুমের দ্বারা যদি ব্যাংকের কোন ক্ষতি সাধিত হওয়ার তথ্য উদঘাটিত হয় তাহা হইলে বর্তমান বরখাসতাদেশ দেওয়া স্বত্বেও আপনাকে পরবর্তী অভিযোগ হইতে অব্যাহতি দেওয়া হইবে না। দেশের প্রচলিত আইন অনুযায়ী আপনার বিরতদ্ধে দেওয়ানী এবং ফৌজদারী বা উভয় বিধ মামলা রতজু করার ক্ষমতা ব্যাংক কর্তৃপক্ষ সংরক্ষন করেন।
অাপনার বিশ্বসত
স্বাঃ/অস্পষ্ট
(এস|আর| ওয়াদুদ)
সহকারী মহাব্যবসহাপক
“                                   
জনতা ব্যাংক
প্রধান কার্যালয়ঃ জনতা ভবন
১১০, মতিঝিল বাণিজ্যিক এলাকা, ঢাকা ১০০০, বাংলাদেশ
পি|ও|বক্ম নংঃ৪৬৮, কেবলঃ জনতা ব্যাংক, টেলেক্ম ৬৫৮৪০ জেবিডি বিজে
ফোনঃ ২৪০০০০, ২৪০০২৭-৩০, ২৪০০৪২-৪৫
কঃ ও অাঃ/জিএজেড/কেইস-কাগমারী/ ১৪/৯৮
তারিখঃ ১৩/০১/৯৮ ইং।
জনাব শাহ মউসুদ-উলমোহাতী খানশুর
(প্রাত্তুন প্রিন্সিপাল অফিসার জনতা ব্যাংক)
পিতাঃ মোঃ শাহাদত আলী খানশুর
বিশ্বসরোড
টাংগাইল।
বিষয়ঃ আপনার আবেদন প্রসংগে।
জনাব
আপনার ২৭/৮/৯৭ইং তারিখের আপীল আবেদনের পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে জানানো যাইতেছে যে, ইতিপূর্বে আপনার ০৫/৯/৯০ইং ও ১৪/১১/৯১ইং তারিখের ১ম ও ২৭/৭/৯৩ইং তারিখের ২য় অাবেদন সমূহ যথাযথ কর্তৃপক্ষ কর্তৃক পর্য্যালোচিত হওয়ার পর কর্তৃপক্ষের সিদ্ধামত আমাদের ১৮/৬/৯২ইং তারিখের পত্র সূত্র নং আপীল বিভাগ/ জিএজেড/১০১/৯২ ও ১৪/৮/৯৩ ইং তারিখের ""ভুল সংশোধনী'' এবং ০৩/১০/৯৩ ইং তারিখের পত্র সূত্র নং আপীল/ বিএজেড/ কেইস-১৪৭৮/১৪২/৯৩ এর মারফত আপনাকে অবহিত করা হয়।
            অতএব, পুনরায় আপনার ৩য় আবেদনের বিষয়টি বিবেচনার কোন অবকাশ নাই।
 
আপনার বিশ্বসত,
স্বাঃ/-
(এস|আর|ওয়াদুদ)
সহকারী মহাব্যবসহাপক
অনুলিপিঃ
১।   উপ-মহাব্যবসহাপক, প্রশাসন বিভাগ, জনতা ব্যাংক, প্রধান কার্যালয়, ঢাকা।
২।   উপ-মহাব্যবসহাপক, শৃংখলা বিভাগ, জনতা ব্যাংক, প্রধান কার্যালয়, ঢাকা।
৩।   উপ-মহাব্যবসহাপক, জনতা ব্যাংক, এরিয়া অফিস, টাংগালই।
৪।   ব্যবসহাপক, জনতা ব্যাংক, কাগমারীরোড শাখা, টাংগাইল।
৫।   ব্যত্তিুগত নথি।
৬।   কেইস ফাইল।
৭।   অফিস কপি।
স্বাঃ/-
সহকারী মহাব্যবসহাপক
 
From a mere perusal of these two annexures, it appears that the writ-petitioner was dismissed from his service as back as on 01.07.1990 and his 3rd prayer for reviewing the dismissal order was rejected on 30.01.1998. From annexure-‘D’ it is also clear that after dismissal from service, the writ-petitioner filed two appeals–first one on 05.09.1990 and 14.11.1991 and the second one on 27.07.1993–which were rejected on 18.06.1992 and 03.10.1993 respectively and then after a gap of 5(five) years from the first rejection and four years from the second rejection, third application for review was filed on 27.08.1997 and after rejection of the same on 13.01.1998, the writ petition was filed. Thus it is clear that the writ-petitioner, in fact, challenged or called in question the order of dismissal from his service and as such, the only forum that was available to him ventilating his grievances against such dismissal was the Administrative Tribunal under section 4 read with section 2(aa) of the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1980(the Act, 1980) in view of the provisions of article 117(2) of the Constitution. In the context, it may be stated that Janata Bank was included in the schedule to the Act, 1980 with effect from 18.04.1988.
 
The High Court Division observed that “the order itself is per see without any lawful authority being violative of the Service Rules.” But it failed to consider that the Administrative Tribunal had all the jurisdiction to see the propriety of the order of dismissal even if the same was passed violating any of the provisions of the Service Rules of the Bank or any fundamental rights as guaranteed in Part-III of the Constitution. Admittedly, vires of any provisions of the Service Rules of the Bank under which the writ-petitioner was dismissed, was not challenged in the writ petition. We have also perused the grounds taken in the writ petition. From the grounds, it does not appear that any ground was taken touching the vires of any of the provisions of the Service Rules of the Bank. Therefore, the argument put forward by the High Court Division in rejecting the objection taken by the learned Advocate, who appeared for the Bank as to the maintainability of the writ petition, prima facie appears to us fallacious and the result of non application of the judicial mind. When a decision of this Division was referred to by the learned Advocate for the Bank in support of his contention that the writ petition was not maintainable and that the writ-petitioner ought to have gone to the Administrative Tribunal how the High Court Division could make the observation that the point raised by the writ-petitioner as to the illegality of the impugned order was not challenged seriously by him. It appears to us that the High Court Division totally misconceived the orders impugned in the writ petition and also the principle of law laid down in the case of Mujibur Rahman (MD) (Supra). In that case, this Division in unequivocal language held that the Administrative Tribunal can strike down an order for violation of the principles of natural justice as well as for infringement of fundamental rights, guaranteed by the Constitution, or of any other law, in respect of matters relating to or arising of sub-clause (a), but such Tribunals cannot, like the Indian Administrative Tribunals, in exercise of a more comprehensive jurisdiction under article 323A, strike down any law or rule on the ground of its constitutionality. A person in the service of the Republic, who intends to invoke fundamental right for challenging the vires of a law, will seek his remedy under article 102(1), but in all other cases, he will be required to seek remedy under article 117(2) of the Constitution. The law laid down in that case is being followed consistently and there has been no deviation. So, the writ petition filed by the writ-petitioner was not maintainable in law and the Rule issued in the writ petition ought to have been discharged on that ground alone.  
 
It also appears that the High Court Division totally failed to consider a broad fact that although the writ-petitioner was dismissed from service as back as on 01.07.1990 and his appeal and application for review were rejected twice on 18.06.1992 and 13.10.1993 respectively, again he filed a 3rd review application, which being rejected on 13.01.1998‒he filed the writ petition in 1998 (affidavits in support of the writ petition was sworn on 25.02.1998), i.e. after long 5(five) years and 6(six) months from the date of rejection of his appeal on 18.06.1992. This was nothing but a contrivance to invoke the power of judicial review of the High Court Division having not availed the statutory forum under section 4 of the Act, 1980.
 
The High Court Division also made another fundamental mistake in taking cognizance of the objection taken by the writ-petitioner in his writ petition that the order of dismissal from service was illegal as the same was passed during the pendency of the criminal case filed against him by the Bank in violation of rule 49 of Janata Bank Service Rules, 1995, which has provided that an employee of the Bank cannot be dismissed from service pending disposal of a criminal case, inasmuch as the Service Rules, 1995 had no existence when the writ-petitioner was dismissed from his service on 10.07.1990. The writ-petitioner having been dismissed from service on 01.07.1990, ceased to be an employee of Janata Bank on and from that date. Not only his appeal against such dismissal and but also the applications for review were rejected on 18.06.1992 and 03.10.1993 respectively. Therefore, shelter under rule 49 of the Service Rules, 1995 could, in no way, be taken to strike down the dismissal order passed against the writ-petitioner. It needs to be kept on record that at the relevant time, there was no bar in dismissing an employee of the Bank pending disposal of a criminal case. 
 
For the discussions made above, we find merit in the appeal and accordingly, the same is allowed. There will be no order as to costs. The impugned judgment and order is set aside.
 
Ed.