Allahabad HC’s order of compulsory retirement from service to LIC cashier for embezzling insurance premium of Rs. 533 upheld

Supreme Court: While deciding the fate of a cashier employed in the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) who was charged with embezzlement of Rs. 533 which was a half yearly insurance premium of a policy holder, the Division Bench of Vikramjit Sen and P.C. Pant, JJ. upheld the decision of the Allahabad High Court that substituted the punishment of removal from service to compulsory retirement from service. The Bench further observed that no sympathy is to be shown in while punishing a person guilty of corruption.

In the instant case the appellant embezzled the half yearly insurance premium of the policy holder by neither crediting it to the account of the policy holder nor depositing it with the LIC. He further forged the entry of the amount in the ledger sheet. Upon the revelation of the offence after a departmental enquiry, the appellant was removed from the service. The Allahabad High Court on hearing upon the challenge against the appellant’s removal held that appellant seemingly committed the forgery in the ledger books to cover up his mistake and substituted the order of removal with that of compulsory retirement. The appellant preferred the present appeal challenging the decision of the High Court.

The counsel for the appellant Gaurav Agarwal argued that the present case is of temporary embezzlement of a small amount therefore should be awarded with minor punishments. The Court however reiterated its stand taken in Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation v. Bajrangi Lal, (2014) 4 SCC 693 and held that irrespective of the fact that whether the amount embezzled is large or small sympathy shown in giving punishment in such cases is totally uncalled for and opposed to public interest. On this observation the Court refused to interfere with the order of compulsory retirement passed by the Allahabad High Court. Diwan Singh v. Life Insurance Corporation of India2015 SCC OnLine SC 1, decided on 05.01.2015  

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