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