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