HC expounds: MD and CEO of Company is Competent Authority for initiation of Disciplinary Action against any officer for ‘minor penalties’ (Read Judgement)

Section 178 of the Companies Act, 2013 has no role to play with respect to the initiation of the disciplinary proceedings.”

 

The Delhi High Court was dealing with a Writ Petition filed by a Senior employee of Public limited company, claiming to be victimized by higher officials for raising voice against corrupt practices.

The facts of the case were that the petitioner, who is an officer of President level and senior most permanent employee of the company, Petronet LNG Limited, was the victim of highhandedness of corrupt officers present within the company. Since the petitioner was a whistle blower against the corruption and made various financial corruption charges against the respondent no.6, he being in the commanding position victimized the petitioner so that the petitioner be kept silence against the corruption.

The Petronet LNG Limited is a joint venture company formed by the Government of India to import LNG and set up LNG terminals.

Respondent no.6 issued a charge-sheet to the petitioner without any preliminary Inquiry. No Assisting Officer was allowed to defend the petitioner before the Inquiry Committee and the Inquiry Committee proceeded ex-parte and concluded the Inquiry against the petitioner by recording findings that all the three charges as levelled in the charge-sheet dated are proved.

The case of the petitioner was that the entire disciplinary proceedings are unconstitutional, void, wrong and against the principles of natural Justice and in contravention of provision of Article 311 of the Constitution of India.

Disciplinary action: HC directs BCI to take a decision on PIL

NCDRCThe Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to take a decision within a week on a plea seeking to transfer the disciplinary proceedings against 14 lawyers of the Madurai Bar suspended by the Council to Bengaluru.

A division bench, comprising Justice R.Sudhakar and Justice V M Velumani, gave the direction on a PIL by one M Moahamed Rafi seeking a direction to restore the disciplinary proceedings against the advocates to Karnataka State Bar Council, as originally proposed by BCI.

The petitioner had also prayed to the court to quash the October 12 last order of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (BTCP) rejecting his request that the inquiry be conducted by the Bar Council of Karnataka.

The bench said the interim injunction granted by it on October 26 restraining the Special Disciplinary Committee (SDC), set up by BTCP, from going ahead with its proceedings against the lawyers would continue till BCI took a decision.

“The Bar Council of India, we hope, would dispose of the matter within a period of one week from the date of receipt of a copy of this order,” the bench said.

The matter related to the suspension of 14 advocates by the BCI vide its September 22 last order for storming court rooms and shouting slogans against judges of the high court bench in Madurai.

The BCI had also asked the Karnataka Bar Council to set up a disciplinary committe to proceed against the advocates. But it later modified the order and allowed BTCP to conduct the inquiry.

Challenging the BCI order, the petitioner claimed two of the SDC members were close friends of two of the suspended lawyers and several lawyers of the BCTP were openly supporting the errant lawyers.

In response to the PIL, the BTCP submitted that as the order to conduct the inquiry in Tamil Nadu itself was accepted and passed by BCI, it had no power to change the place of inquiry. The BCI alone had the power to change the place, it added.

Hence, the division bench directed the BCI to take a decision within a week.