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Welcome! The purpose of this blog is to share information and knowledge on Departmental Inquiry. Consultancy guidance and training services are available.
Important: Every effort has been taken to provide relevant and up-to-date information, however I do not take any responsibility for any action taken on the basis of the tips/write-ups in this blog.

You may visit following blogs:
- 'Quality Concepts and ISO 9001:2008 QMS Awareness' at http://iso9001-2008awareness.blogspot.in/
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- 'EMS Awareness' Blog at http://emsawareness.blogspot.in/
- Blog on 'Forthcoming ISO 9001:2015 QMS Awareness' at http://qmsawareness.blogspot.in
With best wishes,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION – 10



What should be guidelines for suspension?

It is not necessary that a delinquent employee be suspended after being served with a charge sheet. Where charges are of serious nature, the employee may resort to suspension pending inquiry. There is no hard and fast rule that service of charge-sheet must precede the suspension order. If the misconduct alleged is of very grave nature and the employee is apprehended at the spot of the commission of the offence, the employer in such circumstances may forthwith suspend the employee and then serve the charge-sheet.


In exercising the power of suspension, it has to be exercised with circumspection, care and after application of mind. The DA must make a fair and proper assessment of the matter in the given circumstances and ascertain that prima facie there exist grave and compelling circumstances which in the light of the material available and collected during the primary investigation point to the likelihood of removal or dismissal of the employee from the service. A proper judgement exercised would prevent unnecessary harassment and humiliation of suspension.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority



Sunday, October 7, 2012

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION – 9



Whether an employee, upon receipt of memo or show cause notice, can demand perusal of documents and records related to the allegations stated in the memo/show cause notice?


Yes, an employee, upon receipt of memo or show cause notice, can request to the management to allow him/her to peruse documents and records related to the allegations stated in the memo/show cause notice. Even in case of the employee posted at different place, he can request to visit the office where the alleged irregularities against the employee have been stated in the memo/show cause notice. So that the employee can go through the relevant documents and records and collect copies of the same from the custodian of documents. This right is provided to enable the employee concerned to recollect the circumstances related to the allegations, so that he/she may be able to provide relevant facts in his reply to the management.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION – 8


Whether CE can take assistance of an advocate as DR in the departmental inquiry?

The term ‘departmental inquiry’ indicates that it is an internal matter of the organization. The constituents are expected to discharge their duties and responsibilities through inquiry proceedings as per service rules or standing orders that always laid down the norms and procedure to be adopted for conducting departmental inquiry proceedings. The CE has a right to take assistance of a DR, which is normally a colleague of the CE or representative of the union/association to which CE is a member, as sought by the CE. There are certain service rules for taking assistance of a DR in departmental inquiry within the organization.


As regards taking assistance of an outsider or an advocate is concerned, there is generally no provision to take assistance of such outsider in normal circumstances. However, in case the management or the DA appoints an advocate to present the case on behalf of the management, the CE has a right to have the assistance of an advocate on the principle of equity and fair play. Even where the PO is a law graduate, the CE can demand permission for availing the services of an advocate as DR. However, in other circumstances management may deny availing of services of an advocate as DR.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority



Short Note - Bias in Departmental Inquiry




Any favour to decide any dispute, controversy or inquiry without proper consideration of the merit of the case may be termed as ‘bias’. In respect of departmental inquiry the word ‘bias’ has importance and this is used in a wider sense for natural justice. Fairness and working judiciously are important factors for departmental inquiry. Any decisions or findings in a departmental inquiry should be according to the law, without fear or favour and without bias.

The principle of natural justice is an important tool of departmental inquiry and it directs that any action, decision or finding in the departmental inquiry must be free from bias. There must be transparency in the departmental inquiry proceedings. The departmental inquiry must be therefore free from any types of bias namely, personal bias, pecuniary bias, official bias or mala fides.


Bias is often alleged during departmental inquiry. To remain free form biasness, following points will help a departmental inquiry to a great extent:
- IO must not be personally interested in the case of the departmental inquiry.
- IO must be a person with open mind.
- IO must not have prejudged the issue for which he has been directed to inquire.
- IO must not act as a witness in the case.
- IO must not be biased in any manner.
- IO must think dispassionately.
- IO must ignore private feelings on every aspect of the case.

The doctrine to remain free from bias should be followed and applied in all cases of departmental inquiry proceedings with an independent mind to arrive at a fair decision.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Saturday, October 6, 2012

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION – 7



Sometime, employees take mass casual leave in order to cause harassment to the employer. What action can be taken?


There is no doubt that an employee has a right to avail of the casual leave in accordance with the rules of the establishment concerned and normally the employer will not refuse casual leave to the employee, unless there are compelling circumstances to the contrary. But mass casual leave by the employees as a demonstration of their grievances and as a means of a collective bargaining stands on different footing and it may be taken as a refusal to work and another mode of ‘strike’ though in a milder way then what the term ‘strike’ actually connotes. Accordingly, mass casual leave by employees will be illegal and may call for disciplinary action.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION – 6




An IO exonerated a CE and found the charge not proved in the inquiry. The DA however while disagreeing by the findings of the IO and held that charge is proved. The DA did not afford any opportunity to the CE by communicating to the CE the copy of inquiry report, along with reasons of disagreement. As the DA held that charge is proved, the DA punished the CE. What are your views in the instance case?

It is not necessary for the DA to always agree with the findings of the IO, however it is required that the DA, which is to finally record an adverse findings, should provide a hearing to the CE. The principle of natural justice would demand that the authority which proposes to decide against the CE must provide him a hearing. In the present case example, the inquiry report is in favour of the CE, but the DA proposes to differ with such conclusions then authority which is deciding against the CE must provide him an opportunity of being heard for otherwise he would be condemned unheard. In departmental inquiry what is of ultimate importance is the findings of the DA. Whenever the DA disagrees with the IO on any article of charge, then before it records its own findings on such charge, it must record its tentative reasons for such disagreement and provide to the CE an opportunity to represent before it records its findings.


If the finding of the DA without providing an opportunity to the CE is challenged before the AA or court of law, it is likely that the AA/court will quash the finding of the DA and provide some relief to the CE.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Friday, October 5, 2012

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION – 5



Should departmental inquiry be conducted by an IO, who is subordinate to the complainant?


A case where inquiry conducted by a subordinate on a complaint made by superior and superior appears as a witness in the inquiry, principle of natural justice appears to be violated. CE has right to have a fair trial. Accordingly, a departmental inquiry should not be conducted by an IO, who is subordinate to the complainant, especially when superior officer is also a witness in the case.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION – 4




What is meant by unbecoming conduct on the part of the employee?


The expression ‘unbecoming conduct’ is very wide and will include drinking while on duty or in the office premises, arrest and detention for crimes, sexual immorality, gambling, drunkenness, causing a nuisance to others, conviction by criminal court.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION – 3



Can a DA differ with the findings recorded by an IO?


Yes. When an IO is appointed by a DA, the said authority is not bound to accept the findings recorded by the IO.


It is implicit in the DA by virtue of his status as DA and the functions he/she has to perform as DA that he/she must independently apply his/her mind to the report made by the IO.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Saturday, September 29, 2012

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION – 2



What action should be taken if an employee gets employment by misrepresentation?

If it is proved in the inquiry that the employee has secured the job on misrepresentation, he can be dismissed by the employer.




In the case of award staff of banks, such misconduct of the employee is covered under ‘Gross Misconduct’ for which appropriate punishment may be awarded by DA in terms of clause 19.6 of the Bipartite Settlement dated 19.10.1966 and subsequent amendments.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Monday, August 20, 2012

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION – 1




What should be the venue of the inquiry?

This is a question generally comes in the mind of the IO at the time when he decides the venue. Generally, the inquiry is held at a place where the employee is posted or at the place where the controlling office of the employer is situated.

When inquiry is held at the controlling office, which is not a place where the employee is posted, then the CE is reimbursed travelling expenses and halting allowance as per rules for attending the inquiry. If the controlling office is situated in the same city, where the employee is posted then there is no question of payment of halting allowance etc.

In case the employee makes an application for change in the venue of the inquiry then there must be some cogent reason to refuse the request.

There is no hard and fast rule as to where the inquiry is to be held. Looking to the circumstances, the venue of inquiry may be changed by the IO. The only thing is to be seen that the employee, in any way, should not be denied the opportunity of defending himself by reason of change of venue.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Saturday, August 11, 2012

GENERAL TIPS – 21



TIPS FOR THE CHARGED EMPLOYEES AND DEFENCE REPRESENTATIVES - 3

Examination-in-chief of the prosecution witness is done by the PO. Carefully listen to the examination and prepare for the cross-examination.

You should ensure that defence witnesses are produced during the inquiry without avoidable delay.

You should not ask for the unjustified adjournments.

You should start defence statements only after the case in support of the charge is closed by the prosecution.

Examination-in-chief of the defence witnesses by the DR should be done with at most care. You should restrict to the points best known to each witness.

Please follow the cross-examination of the defence witness closely and carefully. You may re-examine the defence witness to clarify any point, which came up during cross-examination.

Before the close of defence evidence, if CE wish to give his evidence as defence witness, please inform the same to the IO.

Please ask for the copy of witness brief if any filed by the PO. Carefully read the written brief of the PO. You should file defence written brief only after reading the written brief of the PO.

Your attitude at the inquiry should be cooperative one.


With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

GENERAL TIPS – 20




TIPS FOR THE CHARGED EMPLOYEES AND DEFENCE REPRESENTATIVES - 2

You should submit your list of additional documents and defence witnesses to the IO only after completion of the inspection of documents listed along with the charge sheet and after reading the earlier statements of the witnesses.

Cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses should be done tactfully. The aim of the defence should be to expose the hollowness, if any, in the testimony. The cross-examination of the prosecution’s witnesses is the most powerful weapon in the hands of the defence to unravel the truth and to break completely a false witness.

You may discredit the prosecution witnesses by impeaching their trustworthiness.

Necessary preparations should be done for cross-examination.

You should prepare a list of cross-examination questions in advance. Do necessary home work for this. This exercise will be useful for the defence.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Friday, August 10, 2012

GENERAL TIPS – 19




TIPS FOR THE CHARGED EMPLOYEES AND DEFENCE REPRESENTATIVES - 1

CE can take help of a DR in the departmental inquiry as per rules in this regard. It is always better to seek assistance of an experienced DR.

Please do study and understand the departmental inquiry procedures fully.

You should read and understand the charges and allegations, on which they are based, very carefully.

Please study the charges/allegations with regard to date, time, place and manner of occurrence as mentioned in the charge sheet.

Please carefully check that the charge sheet is signed by the DA himself.

You must check up all factual statements in the charge sheet and the statement of allegations.

Inspection of documents should be done with utmost care. Always take extract or make out full copies (as may be necessary) of the documents. Please remember that the inspected documents will not be made available again for inspection. In case photocopies of the documents are made available, please compare these photocopies with the originals.

In the preliminary hearing, you should ask for the copies of the earlier statements made by the witnesses.

Please read the earlier statements of the witnesses carefully. Thia will help the defence to know the presentation case and you may be able to prepare certain questions for your cross-examination.

You may ask for the copies of the confidential reports, preliminary enquiry reports, police investigation reports, if these are used during the inquiry by the PO.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

GENERAL TIPS – 18



TIPS FOR THE PRESENTING OFFICERS - 2

You may dispense with needless witness/witnesses.

You should examine the investigating officer as the last witness, if it is necessary.

You must follow the cross-examination of your witnesses carefully and should re-examine then to clarify any important point related to the case.

You should take care to lead all evidence at the proper time. You must know that no new evidence can be introduced to fill up gaps.

You must satisfy yourself about trust-worthiness of defence witness/witness and must cross-examine defence witness/witnesses tactfully to bring out truth and to expose hollowness of their testimony, where necessary.

You must discredit the defence witness by impeaching their trust-worthiness.

The most important point you must know that the burden of proof is on the prosecution and it is your prime duty to prove the charge in the inquiry to the best possible.

You should be able to prove, with reference to the documentary and oral evidence produced during the inquiry, the articles of charge.

At the close of the inquiry, you have to sum up arguments by filing a written brief. You should write the written brief with full care.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Next Post will be on “Tips for CHARGED EMOLOYEES and DEFENCE REPRESENTATIVES.” Thanks.

GENERAL TIPS – 17



TIPS FOR THE PRESENTING OFFICERS - 1


Please examine your order of appointment. Please check whether it is signed by thecompetent authority.


Please carefully read the charge-sheet and related papers.


You should have discussions with investigating officer(s), if any and also see related records. This will help you to know the case.


You should examine all documents to be produced in support of the articles of charge.
You should arrange the documents as proof of the charge.


Please acquaint yourself with the inquiry rules, regulations and technical aspects of the issues related in the departmental inquiry.


You should be ready to handover the various documents to the IO on the first day of the regular hearing.


You should be polite towards the CE, DR and their witnesses. Your attitude should be positive one.


You should refrain from attacking character of the CE unless it becomes absolutely essential due to exigencies of the case.


You should be clear in your mind – What aspect of the case you wish to borne out by which evidence/witness/witnesses.


In your examination-in-chief of the prosecution witnesses, you should restrict evidence of each witness to the facts best known to him. You should put your questions carefully.


You should decide proper sequence in which witnesses are to be examined.


You should clearly understand that it is not essential to examine the witnesses in order as mentioned in the list of witnesses given to the CE.


You may dispense with needless witness/witnesses.


With best wishes,


Keshav Ram Singhal


Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Useful Quarterly Magazine 'Domestic Enquiry'

I am glad to inform information about a useful quarterly magazine 'Domestic Enquiry'. It is regularly published by All India State Bank Officers' Federation (AISBOF), State Bank Building, St. Mark's Road, Bangalore - 560001 (India). Presently Mr. D. S. Rishabadas is its editor.

More details may be seen at the website of AISBOF at http://aisbof.org/publication.htm.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Monday, July 23, 2012

Calcutta High Court quashed and set aside the inquiry report

In the Calcutta High Court, W.P. No. 7721 (W) of 2009 Between Arun Kumar Hazra and State of West Bengal and Others -
Brief - Inquiry Officer was a legal Practitioner in High Court. Management did not appoint presenting officer. Inquiry officer himself put questions to delinquent. Petitioner was not permitted to have assistance of legal practitioner and he was not given opportunity to defend himself. There was total violation of principles of natural justice. Hence, inquiry not conducted properly.

In the judgement of the High Court, the inquiry report is quashed and set aside as having made in gross violation of the principles of natural justice. The punishment inflicted on the basis of such inquiry report cannot be sustained.

The High Court judgement also stated - "The respondent authorities are directed to conduct a de novo inquiry after giving an opportunity to the petitioner to defend himself through a legal practitioner."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

GENERAL TIPS – 16

Summarized Flow Chart of Inquiry Proceedings (For DA/IA)

1. Either DA may hold inquiry himself or DA may appoint IO. If DA appoints IO, the IO should examine order of appointment. Check relevant papers including charge-sheet along with list of allegations, witnesses, evidences etc.
2. Send notice of inquiry to CE and PO.
3. If CE present, start inquiry. Advise him about the right to take assistance of DR. If CE absent, provide one chance, adjourn and notify CE and PO.
4. In the presence of CE, DR and PO, read articles of charge or statement of imputation of lapses.
5. Ensure that CE understands charges. Ask him if he pleads guilty or not on each charge.
6. For charges to which CE pleads guilty, do not inquire into those charges and make your findings accordingly. For charges to which CE does not plead guilty, adjourn and provide CE lists of documents and witness received from DA. Also ask CE for discovery and inspection.
7. Forward to concerned authority notice of discovery and inspection when received from the CE for production of documents or showing cause why they cannot be produced.
8. Ask the PO to present the case in support of charges.
9. Ask the PO to present his first witness. If PO has no witness to produce, note it. Ask PO to present documentary evidence; take documents on records as exhibits.
10. If PO has witness to produce, ask PO to examine first witness.
11. Ask CE/DR to cross-examine witness.
12. After cross-examination of the witness by CE/DR, ask PO to re-examine if he wants to.
13. Ask questions to witness for clarification of evidence, if necessary.
14. For further witnesses, follow steps as mentioned above 10 – 13.
15. When case in support of the charge is closed by the PO, ask CE/Dr to state his defence and note the same. Ask the defence to produce witnesses, if any. If CE/DR has no witness to produce, note it. Ask the CE/DR to produce documentary evidence. If CE/DR produces documentary evidence, take documents on records as exhibits.
16. IF CE/DR has witnesses to produce, ask him to examine defence first witness.
17. Ask PO to cross-examine witness.
18. After cross-examination of defence witness by the PO, ask CE/DR to re-examine, if he wants to.
19. Ask questions to witness for clarification of evidence, if necessary.
20. For further defence witnesses, follow steps as mentioned above 16 – 19.
21. If necessary, question CE generally on circumstances appearing against him and in case he has not got himself examined as a witness such general questioning should be done.
22. Ask PO and CE/DR to submit their respective written briefs. If CE/DR ask written brief of the PO before filing written brief of defence, ask PO to send copy of the same to CE/DR to provide PO’s written brief to CE/DR.
23. If DA and IO different, IO should send findings to DA containing gist of articles of charge, statement of imputations of misconduct or gist of imputations of lapses, gist of CE’s defence charge-wise, assessment of evidence and findings with reason charge-wise.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Monday, April 9, 2012

GENERAL TIPS – 15

TIPS FOR THE INQUIRY OFFICER - 4

Please do not administer oath to the witnesses.

Please do not allow leading questions in the examination-in-chief, except in cross-examination. You should not also put leading question to the witnesses.

While allowing adjournments, examine the grounds on which it has been sought. Please do not allow adjournments on flimsy grounds.

Do not allow the DR when the CE appears as his own witness or when he is answering the mandatory questions, at the close of inquiry.

You should not supply copy of the written brief of the CE to the PO.



Please do not collect information from persons who have not been cited as witnesses unless you declare them as ‘court witness’. In case you declare any person as ‘court witness’, then you should allow cross-examination of such witness by both parties i.e., by the PO and the DR.

Please do not take into consideration any matters or evidence which were not adduced/produced during the course of the inquiry.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Sunday, March 11, 2012

GENERAL TIPS – 14

TIPS FOR THE INQUIRY OFFICER - 3

In case of ex-parte proceedings, you should allow the CE to participate in the proceedings at any stage, he desires.

You may suspend the proceedings, if the CE dies or is dismissed or removed from service and refer the case to the DA.

You should permit production of new evidence only if there is inherent lacuna in the evidence already recorded.

In part-heard inquiries, you are free to take up proceedings, de novo, but this should be done in exceptional cases only. It is better to start from where they were left.



In case of ‘Court Witness’, you should allow cross examination by both parties – PO and CE.

Please ask mandatory questions at the close of proceedings where the CE does not opt to be his own witness.

You should allow copy of the written brief of the PO to the CE. CE may be allowed to file his written brief after going through the written brief of the PO.

You should submit your full report of the inquiry along with original records to the DA.

Please do not delegate functions of holding of inquiry to other person.

Please do not hold inquiry according to your own methods. Please follow prescribed procedure.

Please do not call for the documents or witnesses to decide the question of their relevancy.

Please do not requisition additional documents from the DA and/or the PO. You should write direct to the custodian of the documents.

Please do not insist that witnesses be produced in any particular sequence befor you in the inquiry. It should be left to the respective parties.

With best wishes

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Saturday, March 10, 2012

GENERAL TIPS – 13

TIPS FOR THE INQUIRY OFFICER – 2

You should clearly pass your order with regard to inspection of documents.

In case the CE/DR gives a list of additional documents, please ask him to mention the relevance of each document. Examine the relevancy thoroughly and allow the inspection accordingly. If relevancy of a particular document is not clear to you, then it is better to allow inspection of such document. You should deny inspection of documents not relevant for which you should record reason for such refusal.

You should send requisition for additional documents to the authority to whom the documents belong.

On receipt of the list of defence witnesses, you should ask the CE/DR to mention the relevance of each witness. Defence witnesses relevance should be decided expeditiously. In case you consider a particular proposed witness not relevant, please record your reason for the same.



You should send requisition for the additional documents directly to the custodian of the documents.

You should decide date, time and venue of the regular inquiry and send intimation to the CE and the PO. It is better to send such intimation to the DR also.

You should take all necessary steps to secure attendance of the witnesses including defence witnesses.

Whenever CE and/or DR make inspection of documents, please obtain confirmation in this regard and take it on record.

You should conduct the regular hearing fairly and firmly. Your approach should be judicious one.

You should ensure that there is no harassment of any witness during the examination-in-chief, cross-examination and re-examination.

You should maintain a book or file to record the proceedings of the inquiry. The inquiry proceedings should be serially numbered.

You should obtain signature of each party on each page of the proceedings.

You should obtain signatures of witnesses on the proceedings where depositions of witnesses are recorded.

You should supply copies of the proceedings to each party – to the PO, CE and DR. You may also supply copy of the proceedings to the witness where his deposition is recorded.

You should keep record of your observations/rulings in the proceedings.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Friday, March 9, 2012

GENERAL TIPS – 12

TIPS FOR THE INQUIRY OFFICER - 1

Please examine your order of appointment. Please check whether it has been signed by the competent authority.

Please check whether you have received following papers:
- Copy of the charge-sheet along with list of allegations, witnesses, evidences etc.
- Copy of written statement(s), if any
- Copy of the appoint of PO

You should be fully conversant with the procedure of the inquiry.

Please study the charge-sheet, enclosed statement(s) and relative papers carefully and acquaint yourself with the facts of the case and nature of accusation.

Please make your plan for the preliminary hearing and decide date, time and venue for it.



Please send notices for preliminary hearing to the CE and the PO.

It is always better to serve the notice in person or through Registered Post AD.

On the first day of the preliminary hearing, ask the CE as to whether he admits all the charges. If he does so, please record his plea of guilt and return the case to the DA with your covering report. If CE admits some of the charges, not all charges, then also record his plea of guilt in respect of those charges that CE admits, and proceed with the inquiry in respect of the remaining charges that CE does not admit.

On the first day of the preliminary inquiry, you may discuss the calendar of the inquiry (as prepared by you) with both parties.

In case CE has not brought his DR in the inquiry, you may advise him that he may take assistance of a DR as per rules in this regard.

In case CE wishes to take assistance of a legal practitioner, ask him why he wishes to do so. You should analyze his request. You should not allow CE to engage a legal practitioner as DR unless the PO happens to be a trained legal practitioner or DA has permitted it. You must allow CE to engage a legal practitioner as DR, if PO happens to a trained legal practitioner or the DA has permitted it.

You should enquire in how many cases the DR is rendering his defence assistance. He should not have two other cases to appear as DR.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

GENERAL TIPS – 11

In departmental inquiries communication through ‘Registered Post A. D.’ is quite reasonable and sufficient.

If a registered letter is offered to but refused by the addressee, the addressee will be imputed with knowledge of the contents also.

Once an order is issued and sent out, it is held to be communicated, no matter when the employee concerned actually receives it. The only exception is an order of dismissal etc. which takes effect from the date of his actual knowledge.

Holding of departmental inquiry proceedings after acquittal depends upon the nature of findings by the criminal court.

Though a full fledged inquiry is not necessary for imposing a minor penalty but the CE must be given an effective opportunity to defend himself.

It is always open to the DA to withdraw a reference for disciplinary action or to drop the charges.



Reversion to parent department before expiry of the period of deputation is not a punishment.

Ex-parte proceedings are justified where the CE declined to participate in the inquiry despite notice to him.

Ex-parte proceedings are justified where an attempt was made to serve notice on the CE through registered post, but the CE refused to accept it.

Ex-parte proceedings are justified where the attitude of the CE was one of complete non-cooperation.

Ex-parte proceedings are not justified where the CE (placed under suspension) is not paid his subsistence allowance for several months, expressed his inability to attend inquiry proceedings held at a distinct place from his headquarter, due to paucity of funds.

Even in ex-parte proceedings, the IO should record all available evidence.

The relationship of employer and employee comes to an end on retirement of the employee and hence no disciplinary proceedings can be taken against him after that date.

Even after retirement, an inquiry to a limited extent is admissible under the pension rules for withholding or withdrawing the pension.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

GENERAL TIPS – 10

The report of the IO is not binding on the DA, who has to apply his mind and reach his own conclusions.

Where the DA disagrees with the report of the IO, he should state reasons for the difference.

Where the DA agrees with the findings of the IO, it is not necessary to record reasons for it.

Where inquiry has not been held properly, the DA may remit the case for further inquiry.

A DA may consult other authorities, provided he does not accept the advice of others mechanically but applies his own mind to the whole matter before reaching the final conclusions.



Where the CE is exonerated after an inquiry duly held, a second inquiry on the same facts is legally not permissible.

Past bad record cannot be taken into consideration for deciding quantum of punishment unless the CE had a sufficient notice of it.

Lack of efficiency, failure to attain the highest standard or administrative ability does not constitute misconduct.

A conduct inconsistent with the faithful discharge of duties is misconduct.
Final orders by the DA must be speaking orders.

Even in the case of a minor penalty, it is essential to make a speaking order.

A final order passed by the DA must discuss the case, the CE’s defence, the evidence of both parties, the reason why the PO’s evidence is more acceptable than that of the CE.

The DA must record separate findings on each of the charges.

The order of appeal must also be in a speaking order.

With best wishes,
Keshav Ram Singhal
Abbreviation
IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Thursday, February 23, 2012

GENERAL TIPS – 9

Burden of proof is on the prosecution.

The charge has to be proved against the CE and it is not for the CE to absolve himself of the charge.

An IO is wrong, if he places the burden of establishing charged employees’ innocence on the CE.

Mere suspicion cannot take the place of proof.



The report of the IO must contain reasons for the conclusions reached.

The IO should not rely on statements not recorded during the courseof inquiry. The IO must not rely on extraneous matters.

The IO cannot look into any ‘unspecified’ records for reaching his conclusions.

The IO should not make recommendations regarding quantum of punishments.

The IO must keep his mind open.

The IO must reach clear and conclusive findings.

Halting and inconclusive findings of the IO in his report serve no purpose and are meaningless.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GENERAL TIPS - 8

Departmental inquiries need not be conducted in accordance with the technical requirement of criminal trials, but they must be fairly conducted and in holding them, considerations of fair play and natural justice must govern the conduct of the IO.

Statements recorded in criminal proceedings cannot be relied upon in departmental inquiries. The witnesses have to be produced during the inquiry and subjected to cross-examination.

It is within the jurisdiction of the IO to fix up venue of the inquiry provided no prejudice is caused to the CE thereby.



Prosecution case (case by the PO) should be produced first before the IO.
Asking the CE to appear and produce his witnesses first, is contrary to procedure of inquiry and principles of natural justice.

The IO should not question the CE extensively and repeatedly.

The CE should be given full opportunity to produce evidence in his behalf and to examine himself.

Cross-examination of the witnesses is a very valuable right.

The CE must be afforded every opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses of the PO.

If the CE wishes to lead oral evidence, the IO should not dispense with the oral inquiry on the ground the case was based on documents – in fact, on any grounds.

Where charge is based on adverse entries in the confidential reports, the officers who wrote the reports are material witnesses and should be examined.

The IO should apply his mind before allowing additional evidence and record an order in that behalf. In such a case, the CE is entitled to an appropriate adjournment and also to produce new evidence to meet the additional evidence being produced against him.

The principles of natural justice demand that the CE should be supplied with a copy of the written brief filed by the PO. The CE should be required to file his written brief thereafter. Failure to supply such a copy would result in denial of reasonable opportunity to the CE.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

GENERAL TIPS - 7

The IO cannot look into any ‘unspecified’ records for reaching his conclusions.

The CE is entitled to inspect all documents relied upon by the IO in his report.

Full copies of the statement made by the prosecution witnesses during the preliminary inquiry should be supplied to the CE.

It is unjust and unfair to deny the CE copies of the statements of witnesses examined during investigation and produced at the inquiry in support of the charges leveled against him. A synopsis does not satisfy the requirements of giving the CE a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken.



When a witness is being produced during the inquiry, his earlier statement cannot be denied to the CE on the ground that it is confidential or secret.

The IO cannot be a witness.

All evidence must be recorded in the presence of the CE.

The CE must be given full opportunity to cross-examine the witness appearing against him.

The CE is permitted to adduce evidence in his defence and is also allowed to examine himself, if he so desire.

The DA cannot be a witness.

Tape recorded evidence is admissible in departmental inquiry, but such evidence is not direct/primary evidence and should be used for the purpose of corroboration.

The IO should not cross-examine the witness.

The IO should not cross-examine the CE.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

GENERAL TIPS - 6

The investigating officer should not be appointed as PO.

A prosecution witness cannot function as PO.

The IO must take all necessary steps to ensure the presence during inquiry of the DR nominated by the CE.

Refusal to DR from a Government servant who is already rendering defence in two cases does not result in denial of reasonable opportunity.

At the time of appointment of the PO, the DA should inform the CE of his right to DR.
Defence assistance by legal practitioner should be allowed where the case against the CE is handled by the trained PO.

Where the PO is a legally trained officer, the CE is also entitled to defence assistance from a legal practitioner.



The CE must be provided an adequate opportunity to inspect, take extract (which includes making of full copies, where he considers it necessary to do so) the various documents cited in the charge sheet, and those held relevant for his defence.

Though normally a copy of the report of the preliminary inquiry is not to be supplied, it may have to be furnished to the CE if it is mentioned in the charge sheet and is relied upon during the course of inquiry.

Refusal of access to relevant documents is against the principles of natural justice and of the requirements of the Article 311(2) of the constitution.

The CE is entitled to both ‘Listed’ as well as ‘Additional’ documents.

Supply of copies of documents is not an essential requirement. It is sufficient if the CE is allowed to inspect them, to take extracts or to make out copies as he likes.

The CE may make verbatium copy of the entire document while inspecting the document.

No restriction can be put as to the type of the note that may be taken by the CE of a particular document. The CE may take such notes either in ink or in pencil as he likes.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Saturday, February 18, 2012

GENERAL TIPS - 5

An admission must be expressed in writing and must contain a clear and unambiguous admission of the facts constituting the misconduct.

Admissions not made specifically in reply to a charge sheet cannot be a basis for imposing a punishment unless a formal inquiry is held.

Admitting a fact here and there does not constitute admission of guilt.

Where the facts constituting the charge are admitted in a clear and unambiguous manner, it amounts admission to a plea of guilt.



Where the facts constituting the charges are admitted, it is not necessary to hold an inquiry.

The IO must not have any personal interest in the case.

The IO must be impartial and have an open mind.

If an inquiry has been held by an IO who is biased or who has adopted a procedure contrary to the principles of natural justice, the ultimate decision based on his report of inquiry is liable to be quashed.

A person who held the preliminary inquiry is eligible to hold regular inquiry, if he has not pre-judged the issues.

A person who held the preliminary inquiry and where he expresses his definite opinion holding the CE to be guilty, he will be disqualified to be appointed as IO.

Objection to the appointment of any particular IO on the grounds of bias should be taken at the earliest opportunity.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

GENERAL TIPS - 4

An IO must be one who has an open mind and is absolutely impartial in the matter.

The IO is free to ask questions to the witness(es) by way of clarifications and such questions do not constitute bias or violation of natural justice.

The IO is also free to call for any additional evidence by way of documents or witnesses, if he considers the same necessary to bring out truth.

No person shall be a judge in his own case, applies to DA also.



The charge must be definite and contain full particularity in regard to the date, time, place and person.

The various essential details relating to a charge cannot be left to be guessed by the CE.

The charges must be specific with full particularity.

It cannot be assumed that the CE knows the charge.

Where the charge sheet did not contain full particulars of date, time and place of alleged misconduct, it was held that the CE was denied opportunity of defending himself.

The charge sheet should not contain expression or opinion which will show that the DA was biased or had a closed mind.

Charge sheet should not be issued on suspicion alone. There must be evidence of prima facie case.

Mention of proposed punishment in the charge sheet should be avoided, but it does not vitiate the proceedings unless it could be said that the DA had a biased and closed mind.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

GENERAL TIPS - 3

In the departmental inquiry proceedings, action and/or decision should not actuated by extraneous and collateral considerations or by bias or bad faith.

The Civil Procedure Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act have no application to Departmental Proceedings.

A departmental inquiry is neither a criminal trial for the imposition of punishment nor a proceeding in a court of law.



Though the technicalities of criminal law may not apply to departmental inquiry proceedings and the strict mode of proof prescribed by the Evidence Act may not be adopted with equal rigour, but even in departmental inquiry proceedings, the charges framed against the CE must be held to be proved before any punishment can be imposed on him.

As regards amendment of charge-sheet during te course of inquiry, the DA has an inherent right to amend, substitute or drop a charge at any time but the exercise of this power should be restricted to minimum.

Two principles of natural justice are: (i) The proceedings must be free from prejudice or any kind, and (ii) The CE must have an adequate opportunity to present his defence and prove his innocence.

Adequate (reasonable) opportunity has two ingredients: (i) A proper notice, and (ii) A reasonable hearing.

The purpose of the charge sheet is to give due notice of allegation to the charged employee so that he understands clearly the lapse or misconduct on his part.

The charge sheet must be framed in specific and concrete terms with full particularity relating to the date, time, place and nature of occurrence and must also cite, in sufficient detail, the documentary and oral evidence in possession of the DA to prove the allegation.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation

IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

Friday, February 17, 2012

GENERAL TIPS - 2

Departmental Inquiry proceedings are quasi-judicial, in nature. A judicial approach is necessary while dealing with such cases.

The procedure adopted in the departmental inquiry must be fair and reasonable and it should also bear a convincing appearance that justice has been done.
It is absolutely necessary and essential for IO, PO, CE and DR to know the provisions of the departmental inquiry proceedings fully and adequately.



The ‘Oral Inquiry’ is an important part of the departmental inquiry proceedings. ‘Oral Inquiry’ and ‘Personal Hearing’ is one and the same thing. An ‘Oral Inquiry’ is intended to afford to the charged employee an opportunity to defend himself by cross-examining the witnesses produced against him and by examining himself or any other witness(es) in support of his defence.

An inquiry cannot be dispensed with merely for convenience of the employer, or on the presumption that the CE cannot improve his defence by personal hearing.
It is absolutely essential that the inquiry proceedings are held in accordance with the prescribed procedure.

It is absolutely essential that there is no violation of principles of natural justice resulting failure of justice in the inquiry proceedings.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation
IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

General Tips - 1

Keshav Ram Singhal



The Inquiry Officer (IO) should hold inquiry in accordance with the prescribed procedure, which should be free from any legal hole pricking on a future date.

The Presenting Officer (PO) should present the case to the best of his ability so that the case does not go by any default on his part.

The Defence Representative (DR) should do his best to help the Charged Employee (CE). CE feels distress, as such the DR should always endeavour to do his best in rendering his assistance in the departmental inquiry.

Departmental Inquiry is also known as departmental enquiry or domestic enquiry. Its proceddings are also known as disciplinary proceedings.

The departmental inquiry proceedings have a dual purpose. They are intended (i) to help the Disciplinary Authority (DA) to assess the guilt of the CE with a view to decide further course of action, if any, and (ii) to provide the CE a chance to meet the charges levelled against him and to prove his innocence.

Abbreviation
IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority

PREFACE

Dear friends,

Greetings!

People generally are afraid of departmental inquiry. People find difficulty in participating in departmental inquiry.

I have been associated with departmental inquiry and thus I have the opportunity to read books, generally voluminous books, related to departmental inquiry. During my service as an officer of a bank and also as an elected representative of the officers' association, I had opportunities to participate in departmental inquiries, sometimes as Presenting Officer on behalf of the management or sometimes as defence representative assisting the charged officer. Thus, I could gain experience to learn the insight of the departmental inquiry. With a view to share my knowledge and tips related to departmental inquiry, this blog is being developed by me. This is a small effort to create awareness on departmental inquiry.



No one should be punished without giving him an opportunity to defend himself and a judicial approach is necessary in the procedures of departmental inquiry. The procedure adopted must not only be fair and reasonable but should also bear a convincing appearance that justice has been done. I will try to present important tips in a summarized way.

I hope that this effort will be appreciated by the readers of this blog. I look forward to receive your feedback.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

Abbreviation
IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority