ICICI purportedly received a complaint against Kochhar. In a meeting in May 2018, the bank constituted an enquiry committee headed by retired judge of the Supreme Court of India, Justice BN Srikrishna.
In June 2018, Kochhar informed ICICI that she would go on leave till the enquiry is completed. By a letter dated October 3, 2018, the petitioner sought an early retirement which was accepted by ICICI subject to certain conditions.
In January 2019, the enquiry committee report was submitted which indicted Kochhar. After this, the Board treated the separation as ‘Termination for Cause’.
ICICI also revoked the retirement benefits to Kochhar. Kochhar called upon ICICI to restore the existing and future entitlements, including unpaid amounts, stock option and medical benefits which was refused by ICICI.
Kochhar filed a writ petition in High Court in 2019 seeking to refrain ICICI from recovering and/or cancelling the benefits granted for early retirement and a declaration to exercise the benefits of stock options.
The High Court rejected the petition on the ground of maintainability holding that the termination fell under the ambit of a contractual relationship and that her service conditions were not governed under any statute and hence a writ remedy cannot be availed.
This order of the High Court was upheld by the Supreme Court who refused to intervene in the findings.
After this, Kochhar approached the High Court with the present suit.