Vijay Singh vs Central Bank Of India And Anr. on 4 February, 1994

Punjab-Haryana High Court
Vijay Singh vs Central Bank Of India And Anr. on 4 February, 1994
Equivalent citations: (1994) 107 PLR 511
Author: A Bahri
Bench: A Bahri, N Kapoor


A.L. Bahri, J.

1. Vijay Singh Petitioner is an employee of the Central Bank of India-the respondent. He, in this petition filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution prays for quashing of order Annexure P-4 whereby Enquiry Officer was appointed to hold departmental enquiry against him. An FIR was lodged on February 10, 1992 with respect to embezzlement of bank funds to the tune of Rs. 1,14,500/- as per details given in Annexure P-3 which is part of the charge-sheet served on the petitioner for holding departmental enquiry. The aforesaid charge-sheet was served on March 27, 1992. The Enquiry Officer was appointed vide Annexure P-4 date April 24, 1992, after reply to the charge-sheet was not considered satisfactory. The case of the petitioner is based on bipartite settlement dated October 19, 1966. Para 19.4 extract of which is quoted, from the writ petition is as under :-

“If after steps have been taken to prosecute an employee or to get him prosecuted, for an offence, he is not put on trial within a year of the commission of the offence, the management may then deal with him as if he had committed an act of ‘gross-misconduct’ or of ‘minor misconduct.”

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 If within the pendency of the proceedings thus instituted he is put on trial such proceedings shall be stayed pending the completion of the trial.

2. In view of the aforesaid settlements in the present case simultaneously enquiry could not be started when on police report challan has been presented on December 17,1992.

3. On notice of motion having issued reply has been filed by the respondent Bank inter-alia alleging that the criminal trial had not been commenced and thus the enquiry could proceed. Further-more, it is stated that for one year from the commission of the offence the trial did not commence and the enquiry cannot be quashed.

4. A perusal of the settlement aforesaid shows that para 19.4 applies in the two contingencies. Firstly that if the accused is to be put to trial, departmental enquiry cannot be initiated on the same allegations and secondly if the departmental enquiry is initiated and subsequently the person is put to trial in the criminal Court, such proceedings are to be stayed. Thus the question for consideration is as to whether Vijay Singh petitioner has been, put to trial by simple presentation of the challan against him in the criminal court or the trial would commence from the stage question of framing charge is considered against him. Simply by presentation of the police challan it could not be said that the accused has been put to trial. Before charge is framed if the accused absents from the trial, his presence is to be procured and the trial will only commence when the Court applies mind to the allegations contained in the report submitted Under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the documents accompanying thereto as to whether the accused is to be charged or not. After framing of the charge, the same is put to the accused to record his plea. If he pleads guilty to the charge the case may finish by order of conviction and sentence. If he pleads not-guilty and claims to be tried, he is put on trial (Section 240(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code). Thus, as and when the charge is framed, it can be said that the accused has been put on trial. It is undisputed that the petitioner has not so far been charged by the criminal court. That being the position, departmental inquires could be initiated against him. Annexure P-3 shows that allegations of embezzlement contained about 35 items relating to different amounts. Some of the items relate to the months of June and July 1991. Other items are earlier in time. In the present case, departmental proceedings were initiated and the petitioner was charged on March 27, 1992. An enquiry Officer was appointed on April 24, 1992. Most of the entries are beyond one year from the appointment of the Enquiry Officer. Even if some are within one year, it will not make any difference as already stated above in the criminal case charge has not been framed against the petitioner and the departmental enquiry proceedings cannot be stopped.

5. From perusal of the written statement it is further clear that statement of several witnesses of the department have already been recorded. The petitioner did not choose to approach this Court promptly. Rather the petitioner concealed this fact of recording of the evidence by the Enquiry Officer though he did mention about the pendency of the enquiry.

6. For the reasons recorded above, we find no reason to interfere in the enquiry proceedings and dismiss the petition. No order as to costs.

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