Indiscipline By Bankers Cannot Be Condoned, Says Meghalaya HC [Read Judgment]

Indiscipline By Bankers Cannot Be Condoned, Says Meghalaya HC [Read Judgment]

"No organisation, more particularly, a bank can function properly and effectively if its officers and employees do not observe the prescribed norms and discipline."

The High Court of Meghalaya, in a recent judgment, observed that indiscipline by bankers cannot be condoned as they deal with public money.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice HS Thangkhiew observed thus while dismissing a writ appeal filed by a bank official who was imposed with major penalty of compulsory retirement. The charge against him was that he committed serious irregularity in regularizing/authorizing the payment of three cheques violating the procedure of the bank as a result of which the Bank suffered huge monetary loss.

The court observed that, in banking business, absolute devotion, diligence, integrity and honesty needs to be preserved by every bank employee and in particular a bank officer so that the confidence of the public/depositors is not impaired. It said:

"A bank officer holds a position of trust where honesty and integrity are inbuilt requirements of functioning. He deals with the money of the depositors and the customers. Every officer/employee of the Bank is required to take all possible steps to protect the interests of the bank and to discharge his duties with utmost integrity, honesty, devotion and diligence and to do nothing which is unbecoming of a bank officer. Where the person deals with public money or is engaged in financial transactions or acts in a fiduciary capacity, the highest degree of integrity and trustworthiness is a must and unexceptionable. Good conduct and discipline are inseparable from the functioning of every officer/employee of the Bank. It is no defence available to say that there was no loss or profit resulted in case when the officer/employee acted without authority."

While dismissing the appeal, the court added that every officer/employee is supposed to act within the limits of his authority. The court said:

"In other words, the very discipline of an organisation more particularly a bank is dependent upon each of its officers acting and operating within their allotted sphere. Sympathy or generosity as a factor is impermissible. Loss of confidence is the primary factor and not the amount of money misappropriated. Acting beyond one's authority is by itself a breach of discipline and is misconduct. In the case of a bank, every officer/employee is supposed to act within the limits of his authority. If each officer/employee is allowed to act beyond his authority, the discipline of the organisation/bank will disappear. The functioning of the Bank would become chaotic and unmanageable. No organisation, more particularly, a bank can function properly and effectively if its officers and employees do not observe the prescribed norms and discipline. Such indiscipline cannot be condoned on the specious ground that it was not actuated by ulterior motives or by extraneous considerations."