Department of Personnel and Training has issued various instructions from time to time on handling of disciplinary proceedings. These instructions were recently consolidated in the form of 8 OMs, as enlisted below, with a view to facilitate the stakeholders to provide one-stop guidance in handling disciplinary proceedings.
Handling of Disciplinary Proceedings in respect of Central Civilian Employees
Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions
Department of Personnel and Training
(Dated 29 March, 2023 )
Handling of Disciplinary Proceedings in respect of Central Civilian Employees
Department of Personnel and Training has issued various instructions from time to time on handling of disciplinary proceedings. These instructions were recently consolidated in the form of 8 OMs, as enlisted below, with a view to facilitate the stakeholders to provide one-stop guidance in handling disciplinary proceedings. However, to provide more ease in accessing these guidelines, these have now been amalgamated and brought out at one place as under:
(I) Procedural aspects during the course of inquiry under Rule 14 of the CCS (CCA) Rules.
(II) Clarification/ Interpretation of penalties under CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965
(III) Simultaneous action of prosecution and initiation of departmental proceedings
(IV) Sharing of advice of UPSC with the Charged Officer
(V) Special Procedure in Disciplinary Action
(VI) Disciplinary Jurisdiction of CAT/Election Commission of India
(VIII) Sealed Cover Procedure
(IX) Vigilance Clearance for obtaining passport
(I) PROCEDURAL ASPECTS DURING THE COURSE OF INQUIRY UNDER RULE 14 OF THE CCS (CCA) RULES
Department of Personnel and Training has issued several executive instructions on the various matters concerning procedural aspects during the course of inquiry under CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965. These instructions, usually in the form of Office Memorandum, are circulated amongst the stakeholders for facilitating them in the proper implementation of the rules/procedures regarding handling disciplinary proceedings with a view to provide easy access to the stakeholders. The essence of these instructions in the matter has been summarized in the following paras for guidance and better understanding: –
- Inquiring Authority (Inquiry Officer)-
2.1 Rule 14(2) of the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965:
(2) Whenever the disciplinary authority is of the opinion that there are grounds for inquiring into the truth of any imputation of misconduct or misbehavior against a Government servant, it may itself inquire into, or appoint under this rule or under the provisions of the Public Servants (Inquiries) Act, 1850, as the case may be, an authority to inquire into the truth thereof.
Provided that where there is a complaint of sexual harassment within the meaning of rule 3 C of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, the Complaints Committee established in each Ministry or Department or Office for inquiring into such complaints, shall be deemed to be the inquiring authority appointed by the disciplinary authority for the purpose of these rules and the Complaints Committee shall hold, if separate procedure has not been prescribed for the Complaints Committee for holding the inquiry into the complaints of sexual harassment, the inquiry as far as practicable in accordance with the procedure laid down in these rules.
(i) Where the disciplinary authority itself holds the inquiry, any reference in sub-rule (7) to sub-rule (20) and in sub-rule (22) to the inquiring authority shall be construed as a reference to the disciplinary authority.
(ii) Where the disciplinary authority appoints a retired Government servant as inquiring authority, any reference in sub-rule (7) to subrule (20) and in sub-rule (22) shall include such authority.
[Rule 14(2) of the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965]
2.2 Rule 14(5) of the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965:
“5 (a) On receipt of the written statement of defence, the disciplinary authority may itself inquire into such of the articles of charge as are not admitted, or, if it considers it necessary so to do, appoint, under sub-rule (2), an inquiring authority for the purpose, and where all the articles of charge have been admitted by the Government servant in his written statement of defence, the disciplinary authority shall record its findings on each charge after taking such evidence as it may think fit and shall act in the manner laid down in rule 15.
(b) If no written statement of defence is submitted by the Government servant, the disciplinary authority may itself inquire into the articles of charge, or may, if it considers it necessary to do so, appoint, under subrule (2), an inquiring authority for the purpose.
(c) Where the disciplinary authority itself inquires into any article of charge or appoints an inquiring authority for holding an inquiry into such charge, it may, by an order, appoint a Government servant or a legal practitioner, to be known as the “Presenting Officer” to present on its behalf the case in support of the articles of charge.
Explanation- For the purposes of this rule, the expression ‘Government servant’ includes a person who has ceased to be in Government service.”
[Rule 14(5) of the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965]
2.3 The following measures had been suggested to the various Ministries/Departments in regard to the appointment of Inquiry officers in the context of avoiding delays in departmental proceedings caused by excessive preoccupation of the Inquiry Officer and his unfamiliarity with the prescribed procedures:-
(i) In each Ministry/Department, a specified officer(s) of appropriate rank shall be nominated and earmarked for the purpose of conducting all the departmental enquiries arising within that Ministry/Department.
(ii) As soon as an occasion arises for taking up such an enquiry, the nominated officer will be relieved of his normal duties to such an extent as may be necessary to enable him to devote full and careful attention to the completion of the enquiry and the submission of his report. During this time, the work of which the officer is to be relieved may be distributed amongst other officers.
(iii) The nominated officers should familiarize themselves with the rules and essential procedural requirements and appreciate the difference between departmental enquiries and trials in the criminal courts. The maintenance of close personal contact with the Ministry of Home Affairs (now Deptt. of Personnel) will enable them quickly to resolve any doubts or difficulties which may arise.
[Para 2 of the OM No. 39/3272-Ests.(A) dated 13.12.1972]
(iv) Where, the volume of work in connection with the departmental inquiries is so large as to justify the appointment of a whole-time officer for the purpose of conducting departmental inquiries, Ministries/ Departments may consider the question of appointing a whole-time officer, fully trained in conducting disciplinary proceedings for a department or a group of offices or for a region.
[Para 3 of the OM No. 39/3272-Ests.(A) dated 13.12.1972]
2.4 Only disinterested officers should be appointed as Inquiry Officers in departmental proceedings. There is no bar to the immediate superior officer holding an inquiry but, as a rule, the person who undertakes this task should not be suspected of any bias in such cases. The authorities concerned should bear this in mind before an Enquiry Officer is appointed in a disciplinary case.
[Para 4 of the OM No. 6/26/60-Ests (A) date 16.02.1961]
2.5 Inquiries in disciplinary proceedings against gazetted officers of all grades involving lack of integrity or an element of vigilance are alone entrusted to Commissioner for Departmental Inquiries under the Central Vigilance Commission and other cases of disciplinary proceedings involving purely administrative or technical lapses, are not referred to the said Commissioner. It was also not possible to entrust the departmental inquiries against non-Gazetted employees to the Commissioner for Departmental Inquiries in view of the very large number of disciplinary cases of such employees coming up every year. It was further pointed out that the existing instructions contained in Ministry of Home Affairs (now Department of Personnel) O.M. No.6/26/60-Ests (A) dated 16th February 1961 already emphasize the desirability of only disinterested officers being appointed as Inquiry officers in departmental proceedings. It is also provided therein that while there is no bar to the immediate superior officer holding an inquiry, as a rule, persons who undertake this task should not be suspected of any bias in such cases and that the authorities concerned should bear this in mind before an Inquiry Officer is appointed in a disciplinary case.
[Para 2 of OM No. 39/40/70-Ests.(A) dated 09.11.1972]
2.6 Where a representation by the delinquent official against the appointment of a particular Inquiry officer on grounds of bias, is rejected by the disciplinary authority, it should be open to the delinquent official, to prefer an appeal to the appellate authority. It was pointed out that though there was no provision in the CCS (CCA) Rules for filing an appeal against an order appointing a person as Inquiry Officer in a disciplinary proceeding, such an order could, nevertheless, be reviewed under the said Rules. The Staff Side desired that in view of this position, the Inquiry officer should stay the proceedings if an application for review is filed by the delinquent official. It was agreed that obviously this should be done and the attention of the competent authorities could be drawn to the need for staying the proceedings once a review petition was submitted in such cases.
[Para 3 of the OM No. 39/40/70-Ests.(A) dated 09.11.1972]
2.7 Bias Petition against IO: It has accordingly been decided that whenever an application is moved by a Government Servant against whom disciplinary proceedings are initiated under the CCS (CA) Rules against the inquiry officer on grounds of bias, the proceedings should be stayed and the application referred, alongwith the relevant material, to the appropriate reviewing authority for considering the application and passing appropriate orders thereon.
[Para 4 of the OM No. 39/40/70-Ests.(A) dated 09.11.1972]
2.8 According to Rule 14(5) of the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965, the disciplinary authority may itself inquire into the charges against the accused Government servant or appoint an Inquiry officer for the purpose. However, it should be possible in a majority of cases, and the more serious ones at any rate, to ensure that the disciplinary authority himself does not conduct the inquiry. It may still be not practicable to ensure in all cases that the disciplinary authority himself would not be the Inquiry Officer. Such a course may be necessary under certain circumstances particularly in small field formations where the disciplinary authority as well as the Inquiry officer may have to be one and the same person. It has accordingly been decided that unless it is unavoidable in certain cases as mentioned above, the disciplinary authority should refrain from being the Inquiry Officer and appoint another officer for the purpose.
[Para 3 of the OM No. 35014/1/76-Estt.(A) dated 29.07.1976]
2.9 IO senior from the CO: DoPT, vide OM No. 7/1/70-Est.(A) dated 06.01.1971, requested all the Ministries/ Departments to note the observations of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation (Fourth Lok Sabha), which examined the question of appointment of inquiry officers to conduct oral inquiry into the charges leveled against delinquent officer under CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965. The Committee observed that though they agree that it may not be possible to entrust always inquires against delinquent officer to gazette officers the inquiries should be conducted by an officer who is sufficiently senior to the officer whose conduct is being inquired into as inquiry by a junior officer cannot command confidence which it deserves.
[OM No. 7/1/70-Est.(A) dated 06.01.1971]
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