Orissa High Court on 4.01.2021 dismissed a writ petition filed by the assistant administrative officer in Life insurance Corporation who was being accused of losing money belonging to the Institution.
The petitioner of the present case works as an assistant administrative officer in the Life insurance Corporation of India. He was allotted the duty of safekeeping cash in the strong room of the branch which is allowed to be handled by only two officers. Sri NC Das is the second key holder along with the petitioner who can access the safe. The office shifted to another building due to construction work, and the safe from the branch which had the cash was shifted to the ground floor of the other building.
On the day of the shifting, two cash boxes were removed and Sri Subash Nayak (daily wage earner) was assigned to deliver them at the instructed counter. After delivering 2 safes, the daily wage earner & sub-staff proceeded to get the other safe along with a packet containing a few loose notes whereby they were instructed to wait until the safe wasn’t locked.
The sub-staff however left, which the petitioner was unaware of. Upon inquiry with the daily wage earner regarding the safe not being submitted at the counter, it was realized that the safe had not been submitted at the counter. A thorough search was conducted for the amount of 2,07,057.43 & subsequently, an FIR was filed and necessary disciplinary actions followed.
Sri U.C. Pattnaik learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner had fully disclosed that he gave the boxes to the daily wager and locked the Iron safe within which the daily wager left with the money and the FIR filed by the Institution is against the daily wager who lost the third box of cash and the packet of loose notes and is facing trial under Section 406 of the I.P.C., therefore, the petitioner could not have been held responsible for the loss of the amount.
The learned counsel also mentions that there has been no proper inquiry which shows that the petitioner is guilty and that the petitioner has raised all these grounds before the Appellate Authority as well as the highest Authority of the Institution, i.e. the Chairman, which were all rejected and therefore, claimed all the impugned orders involved herein should be interfered with and set aside.
On the other hand, Sri P.K. Rath, learned counsel for the Insurance Company, taking the Court to the findings of the Disciplinary Authority, Enquiry Officer, the First Appellate Authority and the Second Appellate Authority in his opposition to claim that the petitioner submitted that for the continuous findings of fact by all the three Authorities involved in a disciplinary proceeding issue hence there is no reason to interfere with any orders.
The learned counsel also argued that looking to the current findings on the facts holding the petitioner and the 2nd key holder responsible for the loss of a sum of Rs.2,07,057.43 and the Authority punishing the petitioner with only a penalty of Censure and recovery of 50% of the lost amount, the punishment ordered by the Disciplinary Authority against the petitioner appears to be very lenient requiring no interference by this Court. The learned counsel referred to the inquiry report, the findings of the disciplinary authority also argued that otherwise also there was no quality in the claim of the petitioner.
The Court on 4.01.2021 dismissed the writ petition on the grounds that it had no merit. The court also declared that there will be no interference with any of the impugned orders.
Click here to read the judgment.
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