HC not required to reappreciate evidence or interfere with findings of disciplinary authority: SC

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The Supreme Court observed that a High Court, while exercising its powers of judicial review, is not required to re-appreciate the evidence and/or interfere with the findings recorded by the inquiry officer accepted by the disciplinary authority, Live Law reported.

In this case, the appellant was serving as a Branch Officer of a Bank. A complaint was made against him by one borrower alleging that he had sanctioned the limit of loan of Rs 1.50 lakh which was later on reduced to Rs 75,000 when the borrower refused to give bribe demanded by him, the report said.

The disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him. The inquiry officer held the most of the charges as proved. The disciplinary authority/Chairman of the Bank passed an order of removal of the appellant from service. The appellate authority dismissed the appeal filed by him. The Uttarakhand High Court also dismissed the writ petition confirming the order of removal from service, the report added.

In appeal, the bench noted that the appellant had worked for 28 years and during those 28 years, there are no allegations against him. “We are of the opinion that the punishment of removal for the charges proved and the misconduct established, is too harsh and disproportionate. However, considering the fact that it can be said to be a case of loss of confidence in the employee by the Bank, we deem it just and proper to substitute the punishment from that of removal of service to that of compulsory retirement,” the court said.

Disposing the appeal, the court held that the appellant shall be entitled to all the benefits which may be available to him by converting the punishment from that of removal of service to that of compulsory retirement.

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