Q: I joined a nationalised bank as a clerk in the accounts department in 1999. I have served the bank with sincerity and honesty for the last 10 years. In 2006, I was promoted as chief clerk of the bank’s main branch in Calcutta. On August 5, 2008, I received a showcause notice from the bank along with a chargesheet, wherein it was alleged that I had committed financial irregularities causing loss to the bank. There were no particulars of the alleged financial irregularities and I was asked to submit a reply by August 19, 2008. I immediately wrote a letter to the higher authority seeking clarification and particulars of the allegations made against me. There was no reply to the letter.
To my shock, in the first week of January 2009, I received a letter of termination of my service. The letter said a disciplinary committee had found me guilty of gross misconduct and imposed the punishment of termination of service. I can say with conviction that I have done nothing wrong, far less commit any financial irregularity. I don’t even know what the exact charges against me are. I feel I have been victimised and have been made a scapegoat for a financial fraud that may have been committed by somebody else. Please advise me as to what I should do to vindicate my honour and reputation and get justice.
A: I sympathise with your current state of mind. What has happened to you is absolutely unfair. It is unlawful on the part of the bank to terminate your service on two counts. First, the chargesheet served on you was vague and devoid of material particulars, and consequently, you were unable to reply to the allegations levelled against you. The chargesheet does not disclose the financial irregularities that you have allegedly committed for which the charges have been framed. The materials available, if any, in respect of the charges were also not made available or known to you. Such chargesheets have been consistently quashed by Indian courts.
Second, no opportunity of hearing was provided to you by the bank before terminating your services. This is in violation of the principles of natural justice and consequently, the order of termination is a nullity and void ab initio, and is liable to be set aside by a court. Thus, in the eyes of law, no proper enquiry has been held since you were not made aware of the irregularities committed by you, despite requesting details of the same, and you were not given an adequate opportunity to defend yourself.
There are several remedies available to you to vindicate your honour and reputation, and get justice. In my opinion, you should either file an appeal before the appropriate authority under the bank’s services rules, if any, or file a writ petition before the high court praying for a writ of certiorari quashing the chargesheet and letter of termination and a writ of mandamus directing the bank to reinstate you on its roll and pay you back wages along with interest since the date of termination.
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