Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India
File Photo

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down a petition of Chanda Kochar, challenging the termination of her services as the managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of the ICICI Bank in 2018.

She had knocked at the doors of the top court, claiming that she was forced to resign from her posts in October 2018 after the allegations of a quid pro quo surfaced involving her husband in relations to the loans given by the bank to the Videocon Group.

Rejecting her petition challenging the Bombay High Court's dismissal of her case, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said: "I am sorry. We are not inclined to interfere with the HC order." He added by way of explanation, "This fall within the realm of a private bank and employee." The high court had accepted the bank's contention that Kochhar's plea was not maintainable as the dispute was contractual and concerns a private body.

During the arguments before the apex court, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Kochhar, said the high court had dismissed her plea on the grounds of maintainability. She was the MD of the ICICI bank which recalled her earlier resignation and changed it into termination and for which there was no prior approval.

The bench observed, "As far as we understand, it is the RBI which can raise issue with the bank. You were in service with a private bank. The RBI has to deal with the bank saying that no approval was taken."

Rohatgi said for certain class of employees, prior approval is needed. "You show us a judgement which says that you have a role, then your writ petition will be maintainable," the bench told Rohatgi.

The Bench also comprised Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy.

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