‘Caesar’s Wife Must be Above Suspicion’, Delhi HC Upholds Termination of RBI Employee

Delhi High Court Law Insider

Sarthak Umang

Published on: 23 November 2022 at 19:52 IST

The Delhi High Court upheld the firing of an employee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) who was accused of stealing invalidated notes in 2005, making reference to the proverb “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”

According to Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, in order to maintain the trust of the general public or depositors in the bank, employee or official must carry out their responsibilities with the utmost devotion, diligence, integrity, and honesty,

A bank officer who is found to have engaged in financial irregularities while carrying out his duties as a bank officer cannot be excused, the court ruled, even if there is a minor infraction in the inquiry report. The court made this observation after noting that the banking system is the foundation of the Indian economy.

The court rejected a petition submitted by Vijay Kumar Gupta, an Assistant Manager for the RBI who was assigned to the Currency Verification and Processing System. Gupta was given the responsibility of processing and shredding cash worth Rs. 4,50,000.

In May 2005, it was discovered that there weren’t 50 pieces of Rs. 100 denominations in three packets during an unexpected examination of the cancelled notes delivered for shredding in the shredding facility.

Then, on June 11, 2005, Gupta was charged with wilfully failing to perform his obligations to the bank, secretly abstracting or stealing the cash notes in order to benefit financially, and showing gross negligence.

The allegations against Gupta were judged to be true, and on October 30, 2006, he was fired from his job and given the order to pay back Rs. 5000. The Appellate Authority rejected Gupta’s appeal in July 2007.

The petitioner contested the dismissal before the High Court, claiming that it was unlawful and illegal and that the accusations made against him were unsupported by any evidence.

Justice Singh rejected his argument, saying that Gupta had been correctly found guilty by the appropriate authority and that the accusations against him had been adequately substantiated.

The  judge stated that, “After carefully reviewing all the information and evidence in the record before it, the Appellate Authority rejected the petitioner’s appeal in this case and issued a lengthy and reasoned order. Therefore, the appellate order is not unlawful or erroneous “

The court dismissed Gupta’s claim that the dismissal punishment was not proportionate, noting that the accusations made against him were serious in nature and amounted to egregious misconduct.

“In view of the above discussion on facts as well as law, this Court does not find that there has been any procedural infraction or violation of Principles of Natural Justice in conducting the inquiry against the petitioner. It is also decided in the foregoing paragraphs that there is sufficient material on record to establish the guilt of the petitioner.”

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