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Disciplinary proceedings, also called as Departmental Proceedings are the proceedings conducted against a Government The procedure to be followed Servants. in Servant on allegation which may lead to the imposition of a punishment on him/ her. disciplinary cases against a having the widest Government Servant is laid down in various rules pertaining to different categories of Government applicability are The The rules Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Any failure to observe the proper instructions the entire issued thereunder disciplinary by the

Rules which have been framed in conformity with the provisions of Article 311 of the Constitution of India. procedure, as laid down in The Appeal) Rules and the various Government, knowledge, either wilfully is liable to vitiate Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and or lack of proceedings all the

or due to gross negligence

rendering them null and void. Tamil Nadu Civil Services (D&A) Rules shall the Civil Post under the State, whether apply to or members of the State and Subordinate Services and to the holders of temporary permanent. According to the Explanation thereunder, these rules shall also apply to a Government Servant who is working on deputation [Rule 2]. The penalties good and Immorality sufficient enumerated in Rule 8 can be reason has not been imposed on a Government Servant for good and sufficient reason. defined But what is

in the rules. Personal in

Corruption, Misconduct, Failure to perform duties properly and are some of the as providing good and Rule 8 are classified as below: sufficient reason.

principal matters which are considered as The penalties enumerated and Major penalties. They are

Minor penalties



Withholding Pay of

of any

Increments, pecuniary

Withholding of Promotion, and Suspension.


Recovery from

loss caused to the Government by negligence or breach of orders to a lower rank in the seniority list , Compulsory Retirement, Removal from


to a lower post,

the Service and Dismissal from the Service.

According to the Explanation II under Rule 8, withholding of increments for the failure to pass the Departmental Examination is not a penalty within the meaning of TNCS (D&A) Rules and according to the Explanation III thereunder, the dismissal of a Government Servant from the service shall disqualify him/her for future employment; but the removal from the service shall not disqualify him/her for future employment. According to Rule 9(c)(2) , the authority competent to impose the Minor penalties (except Suspension) may institute Disciplinary Proceedings against any Government Servant for the imposition of Major penalties though the such authority is not competent to impose any of the Major penalties. According to Rule 9A, if more than one Government Servant are jointly involved or whose cases are interconnected, the authority competent to institute Disciplinary Proceedings shall be the immediate higher officer in respect of the Government Servant who holds the highest post among such Government Servants and the Disciplinary Proceedings against all of them shall be taken together. Where inquiry is to be conducted in terms of Rule 17 (b), the said authority may either himself conduct the inquiry or get the inquiry conducted by an Inquiry Officer appointed by the authority competent to impose a Major penalty in respect of the Government Servant who holds the highest post among such Government Servants. The said authority shall send the Inquiry Report to the authority competent to impose the penalty in respect of the Government Servant who holds the highest post among the Government Servants for passing the final orders. According to Rule 12 (2), the Government in respect of those appointed

by the Government and the appointing authority in respect of those appointed by himself may impose the penalties. Every disciplinary case is mostly preceded by the investigation which will be conducted either by the Director of Vigilance & Anti Corruption or by the Department itself. The investigation or inquiry is a purely fact finding inquiry to determine whether there is a prima facie for a departmental action against a Government Servant . Rule 17 (a) and Rule 17 (b) provide for the imposition of a Minor penalty and a Major penalty respectively. These Rules will determine the procedure to be followed for the further conduct of the proceedings and thus the choice of the rule is a matter of vital significance.
RULE 17 (a) : If the charges are framed under Rule 17 (a), the disciplinary

authority shall have to inform the accused Government Servant in writing, of the proposal to take action against him/her giving the details of imputations of misconduct or misbehaviour for which action is proposed to be taken and reasonable opportunity to make any representation within a specified period. No mention shall be made about the quantum of the penalty which the disciplinary authority wishes submit the and if to impose. There is no provision in the rule for the of natural inspection of documents to enable the accused Government Servant to representation against the action; but the rules Servant requests justice require that wherever a case is based on documentary evidence the accused Government for the perusal of representation. The such documents, he/she should be given a reasonable opportunity to making his / her

peruse the documents before

representation of the accused Government Servant is to be considered by the Disciplinary Authority before with passing the final orders. However, in the reference to the Second Proviso to Rule 17(a), an inquiry

manner laid down in Rule 17(b) shall be obligatory circumstances: (i)

in the following

where it is proposed to withhold increments which is likely to affect adversly the amount of pension payable to the Government Servant;

(ii) (iii)

where it is proposed to withhold increments without cumulative effect for a period exceeding three years; and where it is proposed to withhold increments with cumulative effect for any period. The Final Orders imposing the penalty should be a Speaking the accused official could know the process of reasoning to be unsatisfactory

Order so that

that led to penal action. The statement your explanation has been carefully considered and the same has been found
RULE 17 (b) : Article 311 of

will not satisfy the requirements of a speaking order. the constitution enumerates two fundamental first clause of that article contains the dismissed or removed The principles upon which the whole procedural law concerning imposition of Major penalties rests. The guarantee that no Government Servant shall be to him / her

by an authority subordinate to that by which he/she was appointed. second clause guarantees article are absolute and administrative instructions. defence on the charges framed against him / her. can not be whittled

a reasonable opportunity of The provisions of this down by any rule or relating to public on The

In other words, no rules

services can trespass the rights guaranteed the soundness of the charges. mere suspicion The courts of

by article 311. Framing of depends primarily law repeatedly held that

charges is most crucial and the disciplinary case

can never take place of proof of any evidence.

charge memo which is not based on clear cut evidence will lead to the failure of the disciplinary case. If it is proposed to impose on a Government Servant any of the Major penalties, the grounds on which it is proposed to take action shall be reduced to the form of a definite charge or charges which shall be communicated to the accused official together with a statement of the allegations on which each charge is based and of any other a circumstances that are proposed to be taken into consideration in passing orders on the case. The accused official shall be required, within reasonable time (normally not less than a fortnight and not more than a


to put in a written statement of

his /her defence and to state or to be heard in person or a

whether he / she desires an oral enquiry both. The charge memo should be who are proposed to be

accompanied by a list of witnesses

produced during the oral enquiry and also of the accused official, a

list of documents which are proposed to be produced in support of the charges. For the convenience form should be furnished questionaire to the accused official asking him to resubmit

the questionaire duly filled in along with statement of defence. An oral inquiry shall be held if such an inquiry is desired by the accused official and also in respect of charges which are not admitted by the accused official even if he/ she does not want an oral inquiry. Normally the inquiry shall be held at the place where the accused official was employed at the time of commission or omission of the acts forming the ground for the disciplinary proceedings. The As per the accused official can ask for perusal of the documents before submitting written statement of defence or at the time of oral inquiry. any retired without Government Official to second proviso of on his/her behalf. certainly Rule 17(b), the accused Government Servant may take the assistance of present the case The inquiry officer must conduct the inquiry without bias and reasonable opportunity to defend himself/ herself. The right of the accused official to cross examine a witness who has given evidence against him/her in a departmental proceedings is a safeguard implicit in the reasonable opportunity to be given to him under article 311(2). The defence witnesses will also be examined at the end of the completion of inquiry and the accused official shall state whether he / she had been given a reasonably he/she has any complaint Inquiry Officer will opportunity of presenting the case or If there is any complaint, the in this regard.

indecisiveness. The accused official must be given a fair and a

examine the complaints and get right the matter. The

depositions are to be handed over to the accused officer and get signed by him/her in token of their having been correctly recorded. The inquiry report

shall contain a sufficient record of evidence and a statement of findings and the grounds thereof. The conclusion must be rested only on the evidence and not on matters outside to recommend the the record. The inquiry officer has no right quantum of punishments to be inflicted nature and

on the accused officials for the charges held proved. On receipt of the inquiry report, the disciplinary authority who is the punishing authority satisfying opportunity or that the to defend shall examine himself / herself, the the report carefully given and after in the accused official has been a reasonable

shall record

his findings assist

respect of each charge stating whether, in his opinion , it stands proved not. The report of authority inquiry officer is intended to to a conclusion about disciplinary binding in coming the guilt of the

Government Servant. Its

findings are advisory in character and are not of the evidence forming part of oral

on the disciplinary authority who can disagree with them and

come to his own assessment

inquiry. The authority competent to impose the penalty is of the opinion that any of the penalties should be imposed, it shall, before making on order imposing such penalty, furnish him/her a copy of the inquiry report and call upon him/her to submit further representation, if any, within a reasonable time not exceeding 15 days. After considering the record of the case, the inquiry the conclusion as report and the representation submitted by the official, the Disciplinary Authority shall come to to whether the charges are proved and about the issue the orders accordingly .The order punishment to be imposed and official. Punishment actual receipt by

must be a speaking order and shall be communicated to the accused orders shall not take effect retrospectively; shall take The final order should be assigned effect from the date of order, if it is so specified or from the date of its the accused official. only by the competent authority to impose the penalty. According to Rule 17(e), a Government Servant may be placed under suspension from service when an is contemplated or pending and a into grave charges against him/her complaint against him/her of any

criminal offence

is under investigation or trail.

A Government Servant

who is detained in custody for a period longer than 48 hours shall be deemed to have been suspended under this rule.