the charge memo issued to two State Bank of India (SBI) officers alleging
misconduct for holding a lunch hour demonstration in August last year, the
Madras High Court has held that a mere peaceful demonstration, per se, inside
the campus, cannot be understood as a mark of misconduct under the rules.
Bench comprising Justices Chitra Venkataraman and K.B.K.Vasuki passed the
common judgment on appeals filed by two officers of the bank against a single
Judge’s order of February 8 this year.
D.Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev, Deputy Manager, SBI, RBU, LHO, Chennai and
D.Suresh Kumar, Chief Manager, RBU, LHO, Chennai, were the general secretary
and elected president of the All India State Bank of India Officers’
Association respectively. The association held a lunch hour demonstration on
August 28 last year in front of the local head office and in all the
administrative offices of the bank. Members, including the two officers,
last year, the two were issued charge memo for alleged misconduct under the
bank’s officers’ service rules.
writ petitions contending that registered trade unions had a right to
demonstrate peacefully. The right flowed from Art.19 (1) ( c ) of the
Constitution. They denied that they instigated the officers of the bank to hold
the demonstration. There was no misconduct.
A single Judge
rejected the writ petitions, holding that the court could not interfere at the
stage of charge memo on the basis of the defence pleaded by the petitioners.
Aggrieved, the two filed the present appeals.