Legal Advice

The bank has terminated one of its employees without reason

Question: The bank has terminated the employee and blocked all communication, including the employee's ID, without providing any discernible reason. Despite being a permanent employee of this nationalised bank (SBI), the grounds for termination remain unexplained. In light of this situation, what recourse is available for me to seek reinstatement?

Advise

The employer (bank) cannot terminate its employee without stating the ground and providing an opportunity of hearing. This is the fundamental principle of a fair justice even in the administrative sphere that the person must have an opportunity to be heard before taking any adverse action against him. 

Therefore, the act of the employer (bank) is prima facie unjust, illegal and violation of the principle of natural justice. It also violates the provisions of the State Bank of India Officers Service Rules, 1992.

According to Rule 20 of the State Bank of India Officers Service Rules, 1992, an officer shall not leave or discontinue his service in the Bank without first giving a notice in writing of his intention to leave or discontinue the service or resign.

Termination without any notice not only violates the above rule but also infringes the fundamental right enshrined in Article 21 of the constitution. Right to livelihood is an integral part of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.

Article 21

The term ‘Life’ as outlined in Article 21 of the Constitution goes beyond the basic act of breathing. It extends beyond mere animal existence or the monotonous routine of survival. It encompasses a broader spectrum, encompassing the right to live with human dignity, the right to livelihood, the right to health, the right to breathe pollution-free air, and more.

In the case of Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation AIR 1986 SC 180, commonly referred to as the ‘Pavement Dwellers Case,’ the Supreme Court has held that the right to livelihood is inherently connected to the right to life. The court reasoned that no individual can sustain life without the means of living, i.e., a source of livelihood. Expanding on this, the Court emphasised:

“The scope of the right to life guaranteed by Article 21 is extensive and all-encompassing. It does not solely imply the preservation of life from extinguishment or deprivation, such as in the case of the imposition and execution of a death sentence, except as per the established legal procedure. While this is one dimension of the right to life, an equally crucial aspect is the right to livelihood because the ability to live is inseparable from the means of livelihood.”

Olga Tellis Vs. BMC AIR 1986 SC 180

The bank cannot terminate its employee without following the due procedure of law. The termination of an employee by the bank must adhere to the prescribed legal procedures. The State Bank of India Officers Service Rules, 1992, has been established to safeguard employees from any arbitrary actions by higher authorities within the SBI.

This regulatory framework ensures that due process is followed in matters of employee termination, providing a protective measure against any potential abuse of authority by the higher echelons of the State Bank of India.

You have been terminated in violation of the due process. Hence, you should file a writ petition before the High Court for quashing of the termination order. That order is unjust, illegal and in violation of the fundamental right. When the fundamental right of the citizen is being infringed by the state, the aggrieved person can directly approach the high court under Article 226 of the constitution of India. 

Since you have been illegally deprived from the right to livelihood hence, you can seek appropriate remedy i.e. quashing of termination order, from the High Court.

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow