Sacking bank staff for unauthorised leave upheld

“No establishment can function if it allows its employees to behave in such a manner, “ a bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and Asok Kumar Ganguly said in a judgement.

The apex court passed the judgement while upholding an appeal filed by the Bank of Baroda challenging the directions of the Labour Court and the Allahabad High Court which had directed the management to reinstate Anita Nandrajog who was sacked in 1989 for her prolonged unauthorised absence.

The bank had contended that Anita joined the bank as an accounts clerk on July 21, 1980. Her husband was employed in Libya. On two occasions i.e. from August 4,1986 to March 29,1987 and from July 20, 1987, to April 10, 1988 ie more than 266 days, she remained absent from duty to jon her husband but the bank condoned the acts of absence of leaving the country without the bank’s permission.

She again left for Libya on August 22, 1988, without permission and without any sanction of leave. She did not turn up to join her duties for more than 150 consecutive days. The bank invoked the provisions of Clause 17(b) of Fifth Bipartite Settlement and issued her a notice on June 26, 1989, to report for duty within 30 days, failing which it would be presumed that she has voluntarily retired from the service of the bank. However, she failed to join duty and instead sent repeated letters extending her leave following which her services were terminated.

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