Ms. T. Meenakumari, J.
1. The writ petition is for the issue of writ of certiororified mandamus to call for the records bearing proceeding No. TRO/PRS/90-91/ 4121, dated January 21, 1991 of the second respondent and the order dated April 23, 1991 of the appellate authority, the first respondent and quash the same and consequently direct the respondents to reinstate the petitioner with effect from October 21, 1989 and pay all the monetary benefits. Learned counsel for the petitioner has argued that the petitioner was appointed as clerk on July 20, 1965 in the respondent Bank and subsequently promoted as officer on February 28, 1978. On transfer he was posted at Kaipatoor Branch and then transferred to Regional Office, Trivandrum on September 23, 1978 and transferred to Kalanjoor Branch on April 14, 1987. He was, suspended from service pending disciplinary action with effect from October 21, 1989. A charge memo was issued in TRO/PRS/90/150, dated January 8, 1990 on various charges including that of misconduct. The total charges were 12 in number. The petitioner has submitted his explanation to the charge memo. One A.R. Kaimal, Branch Manager, Pulikeezhi Branch was appointed as the enquiry officer to conduct the disciplinary enquiry. The enquiry officer after holding the enquiry has submitted his report on June 23, 1990 and the petitioner submitted his statement of defence on July 5, 1990. The petitioner was found guilty of five charges out of twelve charges. But the disciplinary authority took a different view and found the petitioner guilty of charges 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11 and 12. The disciplinary authority has imposed the punishment of dismissal of the petitioner without notice in terms of Regulation 4 of Central Bank of India Officer Employees' (Discipline and Appeal) Regulations, 1976. The order of the Disciplinary Authority was communicated to the petitioner by proceedings No. TRO/PRS/90-91/41-21, dated January 21, 1991. Aggrieved by the findings of the disciplinary authority, the petitioner preferred an appeal to the competent authority. The appeal was rejected by proceedings dated April 23, 1991. The above orders are impugned in this writ petition.
2. The main ground of attack made on behalf of the petitioner is that when the disciplinary authority has taken the decision disagreeing with the findings of the enquiry officer and has determined his mind to impose the punishment of dismissal he should have given an opportunity to the petitioner calling for his explanation. Learned counsel has argued that the disciplinary authority having taken a different view, has failed to issue the show cause notice. At this juncture, learned counsel for the petitioner has argued that the disciplinary authority has violated the principles of natural justice. Learned counsel has argued that on this ground alone, the impugned orders are liable to be quashed. Learned counsel for the petitioner has relied upon the decision of the Apex Court in Punjab National Bank and Ors. v. Kunj Behari Misra and Anr. 1998-II-LLJ-809 (SC).
3. The respondents have filed a counter. Basing on the counter learned counsel for the respondents has argued that the enquiry officer found the petitioner guilty of charges 3, 5, 9, 11 and 12. The enquiry officer found that charges 6 and 10 were not proved. The disciplinary authority differed from the Enquiry Officer and found the petitioner guilty of charges 6 and 10 also. In total, the petitioner was found guilty of charges 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11 and 12. The order of dismissal was passed on January 21, 1991.
Learned counsel for the respondents has further argued that the dismissal of the petitioner is the result of misconduct proved against the petitioner and this Court should not interfere with the order of dismissal. He has also argued that as the charges were serious in nature, the petitioner was rightly dismissed from service. Learned counsel has further argued that as seven charges were held to be proved, the punishment cannot be said to be arbitrary or disproportionate to the proved charges. He has also argued that in respect of the charges which were found not proved by the Enquiry Officer, the Disciplinary Authority could consider these charges and render its own findings. Learned counsel has also argued that the petitioner was given ample opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses examined in support of the charges and the enquiry is not vitiated on any ground. He has relied upon the following decisions in support of his contentions:
4. It is not in dispute that the enquiry officer found the petitioner guilty of charges 3, 5, 9, 11 and 12. He held charges 6 and 10 as not proved. The disciplinary authority differed from the findings of the enquiry officer and came to the conclusion that the petitioner was found guilty of charges 6 and 10 also. He passed the order dated January 21, 1991 imposing the punishment of dismissal of the petitioner from service. The appeal filed by the petitioner was also dismissed.
5. The Apex Court in Punjab National Bank and Ors. v. Kunj Behari Misra and Anr. (supra), has held that when the disciplinary authority disagrees with the. findings of the enquiry authority, there is a need to follow the principles of natural justice by giving opportunity of hearing. The report of the enquiry officer containing findings should be conveyed to delinquent and delinquent should have an opportunity to persuade disciplinary authority to accept favourable conclusion of enquiry officer. The Apex Court has further held that the Disciplinary authority before taking final decision of imposing penalty has to give opportunity to delinquent officer to file representation before it records its findings on charges framed against the delinquent.
6. In State of Orissa v. Bidhyabhushan (supra), the Apex Court has held that even though some of the findings of the enquiry officer not being unassailable, the High Court cannot seek the authority to reconsider the order.
7. In Railway Board v. Niranjan Singh (supra), the Apex Court has held that the disciplinary authority is not bound by the conclusion reached by the enquiry committee.
8. Learned counsel for the respondent relied on the decision of the Apex Court in Burn and Co. Ltd. v. Workmen and Anr. (supra), to substantiate his contention that no notice is required if the disciplinary authority disagrees with the findings of the enquiry officer.
9. I am of the view that in the present case, the respondents have not given an opportunity to the delinquent to represent his case before disciplinary authority who disagreed with the findings of the enquiry officer. The delinquent did not have an opportunity to persuade disciplinary authority to accept favourable conclusion of the enquiry officer.
10. Under the circumstances it has to be held that the disciplinary authority has violated the principles of natural justice, following the decision of the Apex Court in Punjab National Bank's case (supra) wherein the Apex Court has held that the disciplinary authority has to follow the princip les of natural justice by giving an opportunity of hearing to the delinquent if it differs with the findings of the enquiry officer.
11. The decisions relied on by the learned counsel for the respondents have no relevancy to the case on hand. For the reasons stated above, the impugned orders are quashed. The petitioner must have been superannuated by now as more than eight years have elapsed ever since the filing of this writ petition. It will not be in the interest of justice to remand the case to the disciplinary authority at this stage for the start of another innings. It is suffice if a direction is issued to the respondents to release the retirement benefits to the petitioner. The writ petition is allowed. No costs. No order is necessary in W.M.P. No. 34534 of 1993 in view of the disposal of the main writ petition.