SC upholds sack of woman bank employee for unauthorised leave

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - 20:31

New Delhi: Stating that no organisation can tolerate an indisciplined employee who goes on unauthorised leave for a long time, the Supreme Court has upheld the termination of a woman bank employee.
"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 i.e. 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.

The Labour Court quashed her termination and the
bank`s appeal was dismissed by the high court, after which
it had moved the apex court.

Upholding the bank`s appeal, the apex court said "the
management had been extremely lenient to the respondent by
condoning her absence on the first occasion from 4.8.1986 to
29.3.1987 that is for a period of over seven months when she
was absent without leave and then again from 20.7.1987 to
10.4.1988, that is for a period of about seven months.

"Thus, the respondent was absent for a very long
period without leave. The bank taking a lenient view condoned
the absence without leave. However, it seems that the
respondent thought that she could do whatever she liked and
remain absent whenever she liked for whatever period she

The apex court said it was wrong on the part of the
employee to go on such long unautorised leave in violation of
the statutory rule.

"In our opinion, such a behavior on the part of an
employee is clearly unfortunate and highly improper. We,
therefore, uphold the order of the appellant-Bank dated
25.8.1989 terminating the service of the respondent as a
voluntary cessation of her job," the apex court observed.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - 20:31
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