Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Wednesday dismissed the plea of former Chairman of J&K Bank, Parvez Ahmed Nengroo, to be reinstated as Chairman of the bank.
The court held that the prayers sought by the petitioner were not maintainable before the high court while leaving the petitioner free to approach the civil court for seeking enforcement of his contractual relationship and/or redressal of his contractual dispute(s) with the Bank.
Justice Ali Mohammed Magrey in a detailed judgement recorded that the sum total of the discussion is that the nomination of the petitioner as Director on the Board and his appointment as Chairman-cum-Chief Executive Officer of the Bank was contractual in nature and not governed by any Statute or the service conditions ordinarily applicable to the employees of the Bank.
While giving reference to a Bombay High court Judgement in case of Chanda Deepak Kochhar v ICICI Bank Limited (supra), Justice Magrey noted that the contractual duties are enforceable as matters of private law by ordinary contractual remedies such as damages, injunction, specific performance and declaration.
“It is also to be borne in mind that Mandamus is limited to enforcement of public duty,” the judge said.
“In that view of the matter, this petition, insofar as it challenges communication no.FD/Bkg/21/2019 dated 08.06.2019 addressed by the Additional Secretary to the Government, Finance Department, of the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir, to the Company Secretary, J&K Bank Limited, conveying the decisions of the Government taken by it in exercise of the powers under Article 69(iii) of Articles of Association of the Bank, that the petitioner shall cease to be Director on the Board of Directors of the Bank and, consequently, be no longer the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank, is held to be not maintainable. The remedy lies in the civil court,” court said.
The court recorded that in terms of Rule/Regulation 2(k) and 2(l) of the Pension Regulations, the petitioner is deemed to have retired from the Service of the Bank with effect from 06 October, 2016, therefore, his tenure as being the Chairman & CEO of the Bank is not governed by the Service Rules of the Bank.
“Consequently, any dispute sought to be raised by him in relation thereto, including challenge to communication dated 09 July, 2019, cannot be gone into by this Court in its writ jurisdiction. In that view, this writ petition to that extent as well is not maintainable,” Justice Magrey said.
The court also noted that so far as the prayer of the petitioner for a direction to the respondents for release of all perquisites and benefits due and payable to him in law is concerned.
The court noted that we could make a direction that in the event he is eligible to pensionary benefits under the Pension Regulations in question in lieu of his service till 06 October, 2016 and he applies in accordance therewith for grant of such pensionary benefits, the Bank authorities shall consider the case of the petitioner in accordance with the applicable rules and pass appropriate orders, but, since this Court is dealing with the petition in limine and leaving the petitioner free to approach the civil court for seeking his main reliefs, such a direction may amount to treading into the merits of the case and may prejudice the petitioner in the civil court in seeking his all the reliefs.
“Therefore, by way of abundant caution no direction is made in that regard,” the court said.
“In view of all what is said above, this petition is dismissed in limine alongwith all connected CMs as not maintainable before this Court, leaving the petitioner free to approach the civil court for seeking enforcement of his contractual relationship and/or redressal of his contractual dispute(s) with the Bank. This also disposes of the connected CMs,” Justice Magrey directed.
Nengroo was removed as the Chairman-cum-CEO of the JK Bank by the government in June last year. He approached the court and sought a direction for his reinstatement.
During the pendency of his petition, the government appointed R K Chibber as Chairman of the JK Bank.