The Delhi High Court has upheld an order dismissing a bank official from his service. The High Court said that the banking system is the backbone of the Indian economy and if a bank officer is found to have been involved in financial irregularities while performing his duty, he cannot be let off. The HC quoted the popular saying ‘Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion’ while delivering the verdict and said that it is settled law that honesty and integrity of employees or officers working in the banks who are dealing with public money must be paramount.
The high court said a bank employee or officer must perform one’s duty with absolute devotion, diligence, integrity and honesty, so the confidence of the public or depositors in the bank is not lost.
The high court dismissed a petition by an ex-assistant manager of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), who was entrusted with processing and shredding currencies worth Rs 4.5 lakh in 2005 and, during a surprise check, a shortage of 50 pieces of Rs 100 denomination notes were discovered. He was later dismissed from service after being found guilty during a disciplinary inquiry.
“…the petitioner is a bank employee. A bank employee/ officer must perform one’s duty with absolute devotion, diligence, integrity and honesty, so that the confidence of the public/ depositors is not lost in the bank. The banking system is the backbone of the Indian economy,” said the HC.
It further said that an officer who is found to have been involved in financial irregularities while performing his duty as a bank officer, cannot be let off even if there is a minor infraction in the inquiry report.
“In the departmental inquiry, the standard of proof is not that of a criminal case, that is, beyond a reasonable doubt, rather the test applicable is that of merely the preponderance of probabilities,” said Justice Chandra Dhari Singh.
The court said the allegations levelled against the petitioner are serious in nature and amount to gross misconduct and therefore, the court did not find any force in the argument of the petitioner that the punishment which has been awarded to him for removal from service is not proportionate.
(With PTI inputs)