Adopting a sympathetic stand towards a banker, who had taken long leave to undergo cancer treatment, the Bombay high court has asked the bank to consider it as the employee having availed ‘voluntary retirement’ from November 1, 2000. Bank of India had dismissed her.
With its directive, the HC has upheld an order given by the Central Government Industrial Tribunal which had set aside the staffer’s dismissal. It has now ordered the bank to grant all retirement benefits to the employee, Vasantbala Parmar.
Parmar, who had cancer since 1996 and is now cured, had served the bank for 32 years before her dismissal in 2000. She had visited her son in the US to undergo treatment.
The bank charged Parmar for remaining absent without intimation for over 30 days and for leaving India without obtaining a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the bank. Any employee of a nationalised bank who visits a foreign land needs an NOC.
The bank initiated an inquiry against Parmar for being absent for long without permission and dismissed her, said her advocate Jayprakash Sawant.
Sawant clarified that Parmar had applied for leave in advance and had been verbally assured that her leave would be sanctioned. This, however, was not given to her in writing by the authority concerned by the time she had to fly abroad.
Following the bank’s action, Parmar approached the Central Government Industrial Tribunal as Bank of India is a public undertaking. The tribunal gave a decision in Parmar’s favour in 2007, saying that her dismissal was not justified as she had applied for leave in advance.
The bank challenged this order in HC through advocate RS Pai instructed by advocate Haresh Mehta contending that it probed the matter prior to the dismissal.
Justice Ranjit More of the HC observed that the tribunal had taken a sympathetic view considering the length of Parmar’s service and that she had taken leave and that she had cancer. The court also said that the dismissal was “too harsh”, considering that Parmar had applied for voluntary retirement.