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Bank staffer convicted for moral turpitude offence liable to be dismissed: Karnataka HC

A division bench of Justices Krishna S Dixit and Ramachandra D Huddar noted this while allowing a writ appeal filed by Vijaya Bank.
Last Updated : 09 June 2024, 22:47 IST
Last Updated : 09 June 2024, 22:47 IST

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Bengaluru: Once a bank employee is convicted for an offence involving moral turpitude, he is liable to be discontinued from employment, according to the High Court of Karnataka. 

A division bench of Justices Krishna S Dixit and Ramachandra D Huddar noted this while allowing a writ appeal filed by Vijaya Bank. 

According to the bank, during the 1986-1990 period, disciplinary proceedings were held against M Ravindra Shetty, who was working as a senior manager in Bengaluru. The charges were about lapses on his part in lending money to fictitious people without securing repayment of loans and causing a loss of more than Rs 13 lakh to the bank. In April 1997, Shetty was removed from service and in August 1997 his appeal against the dismissal was rejected. 

Meanwhile, a criminal case was also registered against Shetty for the same cause of action and in June 2010, he was convicted and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment with a fine of Rs 70,000. 

After the high court dismissed his appeal, Shetty moved the Supreme Court. On January 2, 2023, the top court modified the sentence by making it one-year imprisonment and enhanced the fine amount to Rs 2 lakh. Subsequent to this, a single bench of the high court quashed the dismissal order passed by the management in April 1997 and directed for his reinstatement. 

The bank management challenged this order, contending that the single bench could not have interfered with dismissal order, more so when on the same facts, the employee was convicted and sentenced for the offences involving moral turpitude.  The division bench perused the provisions of the Banking Regulations Act, 1949, and noted that Section 10(1) enacted a parliamentary injunction to the bank to discontinue the employment of a person who is convicted for an offence involving moral turpitude, whether he is sentenced or not. 

“When moral turpitude is involved and the bank is put to considerable financial loss, one can safely assume that the legislative intent is dismissal of the delinquent employee. This view gains support from the text of Regulation 11 of the Vijaya Bank Officer Employees’ (Discipline and Appeal) Regulations, 1981,” the bench said. 

The division bench also cited the Supreme Court judgement in SBI vs P Soupramaniane and noted that the offences punishable under the provisions of Prevention Corruption Act, 1988, do involve moral turpitude. “When one is convicted for the offence involving Sections 420, 468 and 471 of IPC (cheating and forgery), it cannot be contended that his conduct does not involve moral turpitude,” the bench said. 

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Published 09 June 2024, 22:47 IST

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