CHENNAI: The first bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday stayed an earlier order of a single judge awarding jail term of one week to two senior officers of Indian Overseas Bank for committing contempt of court.
Justice M V Muralidharan on Wednesday sentenced two officers of the bank for a week simple imprisonment and a fine of `2,000 for issuing an order dismissing a bank official even as the matter was pending before court.
When an appeal against the order came up on Thursday, the bench consisting of Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Teekaa Raman stayed the order and issued notice to the parties, a bank press release said.
The case pertains to a few alleged illegalities committed by bank official S V Chennakrishnan and the internal disciplinary proceedings initiated against him. While CBI is also said to have initiated an investigation into his conduct, the bank’s disciplinary authority dismissed him from service on May 31, 2016, the day he would have attained superannuation.
Chennakrishnan had filed a petition for an interim stay on March 25, 2016. His counsel argued that the disciplinary authority of the bank had passed the order even as the matter was pending in court.
The bank’s counsel on Thursday submitted that the bank official acted in conformity with earlier Supreme Court and high court orders in the same case.
“Since the employee was due to reach the age of superannuation on May 31, 2016 and in order to avoid his taking a plea that the bank had no jurisdiction to proceed with the enquiry once he reached the age of superannuation, the Supreme Court asked him to give an undertaking before the Disciplinary Authority within two weeks that he will not raise the plea that he ceased to be an employee of the bank, and upon such undertaking the time was to be extended by four weeks from May 10, 2016. Since no such undertaking was given by Chennakrishnan, the bank was free to pass final orders,” the bank’s counsel argued.
The first bench stayed the jail sentence against the two officers and issued notices to all parties.