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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/
- 'ISO 9001 QMS Awareness' Blog in Hindi at http://iso9001awareness.blogspot.in/
- 'EMS Awareness' Blog at http://emsawareness.blogspot.in/
- Blog on 'Forthcoming ISO 9001:2015 QMS Awareness' at http://qmsawareness.blogspot.in
With best wishes,

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