Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 27 : Article from Mr. K.V.Shridharan
Click the below link to view previous topics
C.C.S. (C.C.A.) RULES, 1965 – PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION
COMMENCEMENT OF PENAL ACTION FOR MISCONDUCT
I. Principal objectives of Preliminary Investigation Committee
The principal objective of a preliminary investigation are to find out
(i) Who is responsible for the loss or shortage of stores or cash, irregularity, negligence or fraud, etc.;
(ii) how the loss, storage, etc., occurred;
(iii) what rule or standing order to prevent or guard against such loss, shortage, etc., were violated;
(iv) whether there is any defect or lacuna in the extant rules or instructions or the procedure for proper accountable and periodical check and supervision and if so, how such defect or lacuna should be removed.
(v) Preliminary enquiries may take several forms, depending on the judgment of the vigilance officers and the nature of complaints.
(vi) The Vigilance Officers may ask for explanations from the concerned employees; they may make physical inspections of work; they may seek evidence from other departmental employee or from persons outside the department (though most serious charges involving outside persons will be referred to other investigating agencies like the Special Police Establishment), they may examine records.
(vii) In some cases, preliminary inquiries may be closed with the examination of the explanations submitted by the accused officers. Very often, however, the veracity of such explanations will be verified with the help of other methods of investigation.
II. Types of cases that are entrusted to the C.B.I.
(i) Allegations against a Government servant involving offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, like bribery, forgery, cheating, criminal breach of trust, corruption, falsification of records etc.
(ii) Possession of assets by a Government servant beyond his known sources of income.
(iii) Allegations which involve inquiries from non-official persons or non-Government records; and
(iv) Cases of complicated nature which call for expert investigation,
(v) Once a case is referred to the C.B.I. departmental authorities may not undertake departmental investigation in the matter.
III. Consultation with the Central Vigilance Commission (C.V.C.)
i. Advice is tendered by the C.V.C. at two stages, viz. - First Stage Advice -The first stage advice indicates the nature of action to be taken against a public servant involved in cases having vigilance angle.The Commission may advice
(a) closure of the case; or
(b) prosecution; or
(c) major or minor penalty proceedings; or
(d) administrative action, e.g., warning, displeasure, etc. or
(e) procedural improvements or review of existing rules and issue of administrative instructions. Where the advice is for initiating major penalty proceedings, the Commission may recommend the name of a Commissioner for Departmental Inquiries for appointment as the Inquiry Authority by the concerned Disciplinary Authority.
2. Second Stage Advice- The second stage consultation is necessary before a final decision is taken by the Disciplinary Authority on the report of the Inquiring Authority. The Commission considers the Inquiry Report and advices the Disciplinary Authority on the nature of the penalty to be imposed. The Commission may advice the Disciplinary Authority to impose a major penalty or a minor penalty or even exoneration. However, the advice is not binding on the Disciplinary Authority.
Preliminary investigation may end in informal corrective action instead of formal disciplinary proceedings. In some cases, preliminary investigation may disclose doubtful degrees of culpability on the part of officers accused of irregularities. In some others, preliminary investigation may make out a prima facie case for the complaint but the irregularity involved may not be of substantial character. Stray instances of slackness in the performance of official duties, failure to observe the proper administrative channels for official communications are examples of such relatively minor official lapses. These are the cases where the officers accused of irregularities cannot be exonerated from the allegation and yet full-dressed disciplinary proceedings under the Service Rules for the further testing of the complaint may be considered by the disciplinary authority as unnecessary under the circumstances. In such situations, the disciplinary authority would rather like to adopt a via media course by closing the complaint with an informal corrective action administered on the concerned officer than to take up the complaint to the further state of formal disciplinary proceedings.