The Central Co-Operative Bank … vs The Board Of Revenue, Gwalior And … on 27 August, 1987

Madhya Pradesh High Court
The Central Co-Operative Bank … vs The Board Of Revenue, Gwalior And … on 27 August, 1987
Equivalent citations: AIR 1988 MP 1
Author: N Ojha
Bench: N Ojha, C Sen, K Adhikari


JUDGMENT

N.D. Ojha, C.J.

1. Petitioner No. 1 is the Central Co-operative Bank Ltd., Raisen whereas petitioner No. 2 is Gramin Sewa Sahkari Samiti, Bankhedi. Respondent No. 4 Moolchand Shrivastava was employed as Samiti Sewak in the Gramin Sewa Sahkari Samiti, Bankhedi. In pursuance of the disciplinary proceedings initiated against him, an order dismissing respondent No. 4 from service was passed on 10-8-1979. Aggrieved by that order, respondent No. 4 raised a dispute under SECTION 55(2) of the M. P. Cooperative Societies Act, 1960 (hereinafter referred to as the Act); by an order dated 17-12-1981, this dispute was decided in favour of respondent No. 4 by the Assistant Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Raisen. The Assistant Registrar came to the conclusion that the order of dismissal passed against respondent No. 4 on 10-8-1979 was illegal inasmuch as he was not given proper opportunity to defend himself. Against that order, an appeal was preferred by the petitioners before the Joint Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Bhopal which was allowed by the Joint Registrar by his order dated 20-3-1982 and the matter was remanded to the Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies for passing a fresh order. The Joint Registrar, while remanding the matter, made an observation that if it was considered necessary fresh issues may be framed and parties may be permitted to adduce additional evidence. Aggrieved by that order, respondent No. 4 preferred a second appeal before the Board of Revenue which was allowed on 30-9-1982 on the short ground that the order of dismissal was passed by the Chairman without obtaining the approval of the Board of Directors, as contemplated by Rule 44 of the M. P. Sahkari Kendriya Bank Karmachari Sewa Niyam, 1965. It is this order which is sought to be quashed in the present writ petition.

2. When the writ petition was presented, one of the questions raised was that the Board of Revenue could not have passed an order directing respondent No. 4 to be reinstated. In this connection, reliance was placed on the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Sagar Co-operative Central Bank Ltd., Sagar v. Board of Revenue, M. P., Gwalior, 1982 RN 131. While admitting the writ petition, on the view that the question was of general importance, the petition was referred to a larger Bench. It is thus that the present writ petition has been listed before this Bench,

3. The order of reference is dated 16-12-1982. Before the writ petition could be listed before a larger Bench in pursuance of that order, the same question came up for consideration before a Full Bench of this Court in Sevaram v. Board of Revenue, M.P. Gwalior, 1983 MPLJ 645 : (1983 Lab IC 1565). It was held that where the disciplinary action resulting in dismissal or removal of the employee of a co-operative society is in violation of the M.P. Co-operative Act or statutory rules, the Registrar or his nominee hearing the dispute referred to him regarding such dismissal or termination shall have power to direct reinstatement on a finding that the dismissal or termination was illegal being in contravention of the Act or statutory rules.

4. The legal question having already been decided by a Full Bench of this Court in the case of Sevaram Totaram supra, it does not call for any further consideration by us. What was, however, urged by learned counsel for the petitioners was that even though the Board of Revenue was competent to direct reinstatement of respondent No. 4, in the instant case, the ground on which the Board of Revenue reversed the order of the Joint Registrar is, on the face of it, not sustainable. It was pointed out by learned counsel for the petitioners in this behalf that reliance by the Board of Revenue has been placed on Rule 44(1) of the 1965 Rules which had been repealed with effect from 1-4-1977 by a notification issued by the Registrar, Co-operative Societies, on 31-3-1977 in exercise of powers conferred on him by Section 54 of the M.P. Sahkari Samiti Adhiniyam, 1960. It has further been brought to our notice that the 1965 Rules were repealed inasmuch as new Rules were framed which came into force on 1-4-1977. Rule 47 of the new Rules which came into force on 1-4-1977, deals with punishment of employees. Clause (ii) of Sub-rule (1) of Rule 47 provides for the competent authority to pass an order of punishment against a Samiti Sewak. The punishing authority of a Samiti Sewak now is the Managing Director/General Manager/Bank Manager for awarding major punishment with approval of the Chairman and minor punishment independently. Since in the instant case, the order of dismissal which is a major punishment, had been passed, the said order could be passed by the Managing Director/General Manager/Bank Manager with approval of the Chairman himself. Since the Chairman is the approving authority of the action of the punishing authority prescribed under the Rules, no exception can be taken to the order of removal passed by the Chairman on the ground of lack of authority. In this view of the matter, the order of Board of Revenue which was passed relying on the 1965 Rules which had been repealed, cannot obviously be sustained. As seen above, the order of dismissal of respondent No. 4 by the Chairman would not be without jurisdiction in view of Rule 47 of the New Rules.

5. The question, however, remains that the Board of Revenue has not recorded any finding contrary to the findings recorded by the Joint Registrar that the disciplinary proceedings in the instant case were not in accordance with the Rules and fresh orders had to be passed therein. As seen above, the Joint Registrar had observed that if it was necessary fresh issues may be framed and parties may be permitted to adduce additional evidence. Since the Board of Revenue had set aside that order only on a preliminary ground which has not been found to be sustainable, with the quashing of the order of the Board of Revenue on the facts of the instant case, the order of the Joint Registrar stands revived and shall have to be given effect to. In other words, the disciplinary proceedings in pursuance of the order of the Joint Registrar will have to be taken recourse to afresh.

6. In the result, this writ petition succeeds and is allowed and order of the Board of Revenue dated 30-9-1982 (Annexure-II) is quashed subject to the observations made above. In the circumstances of the case, however, there shall be no order as to costs. The outstanding security amount, if deposited, be refunded to the petitioners.

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