The Bombay High Court adjourned the hearing on former ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar's petition challenging the termination of her services from the private bank till December 9. Senior advocate Vikram Nankani sought permission from court to amend the petition. Chanda Kochhar sought to incorporate in the petition its challenge on the post-facto approval granted by RBI to her termination.
In her petition, Kochhar said that the termination of her services by the bank was ex-facie illegal, untenable and unsustainable. It argued the same on the ground that the termination was without previous approval of the RBI. Section 35B of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 requires the prior approval of RBI before issuing termination of services of a bank's managing director.
She also said that the bank denied the agreed remuneration to her while the plea for early retirement with effect from October 4, 2018 was accepted by the ICICI Bank board.
On January 30, 2019, the bank's human resource informed Kochhar that in light of the enquiry report submitted by Justice Shrikrishna, the board of directors decided to "treat her separation from the bank as termination for cause" in accordance with the bank's internal policies, schemes and the code of conduct.
Kochhar was also informed that the acceptance of her plea for early retirement also was revoked with immediate effect. The entire amount of bonus of Rs 7.42 crore that she received during her tenure as MD and CEO was also to be recovered from her. The early retirement benefits were also revoked.
The ICICI Bank counsel DJ Khambata said that the bank is a private entity and therefore a writ petition cannot be filed against it. Khambata also opposed the amendment of the petition and stated that Kochhar cannot improve her case when the petition itself was not maintainable.