A Reference Library for Customs, Excise, Goods & Services Tax Officers and Tax Payers

DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

INTRODUCTION

The departmental inquiry also called disciplinary proceedings is a very powerful tool in the hands of the administration which has the powers to adjudicate and also prosecute at the same time. These are statutory proceedings conducted under the provisions of the Central Civil Services (Classification Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 and their validity largely depends on the quasi-judicial procedure followed and the principles of natural justice observed during the whole process.

The procedure under the Central Civil Services (Classification Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 for the imposition of penalties on a Government servants is set out here for the benefit of the functionaries, i.e. the disciplinary authorities (DA), inquiring authorities (IO), presenting officers (PO), charged officers (CO) and defence assistant officers (DAO), who are assigned statutory responsibilities for the purposeful and objective conduct of these inquiries. These proceedings shall determine the bonafide intend of any organisation while doing justice to its staff. It should be able to dispel doubts in the minds of the officers and staff about the security of their careers. Inquiry officers and presenting officers shall avoid arbitrary implementation of these rules and procedures and should not turn blood-hounds, as truth is the object here and fair play is the goal.

In government departments, we see, charge sheets are issued in a routine manner. But why these charge sheets are not finding a place in private sector? How the managements there sustain accountability and maintain efficiency without resorting to charge sheets? How multi-national companies continue discipline and efficiency with substantial growth without charge sheeting their employees now and then? Is there any service with zero level accident rates? If the charge sheet is the only weapon to enforce discipline and efficiency in service, it is justified, otherwise, it is counterproductive.

Today when something goes wrong, effort is made to find the scapegoats i.e. spot person(s) responsible and serve them charge sheets. In ancient Israel when the community faced calamities like draught, epidemics etc. a search is made to find a suitable goat and all the blame for the sufferings caused to the community is put on its head. This animal is then sacrificed to appease the gods and to get rid of the problem. This explains the word 'scapegoat'.

Charge sheet is not considered as a discipline enforcing weapon, but as a bureaucratic response to an adverse operational development in the department's business, an easy, evasive and escapist attempt. More amounts are spent in disciplinary management than in imparting training to the employees. Can a single administrator take the challenge of his management skill and prove the ability to provide zero level operational errors, and bane charge sheets for procedural errors in his office? Are the systems and procedures so imperfect that it is not possible to secure this ideal state? Where is the fault, is it in all operational employees all the time, is it in the system and procedures or is it in the management efficiency of the executives in control?

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