With you in your toughest times
We help you with the following:
When replying to Memorandum an officer wants to speak about many facts and spell out many aspects / details. However, spelling out all these may not be favourable to him / her and some of these may actually have an adverse impact. Hence it is necessary to weigh each fact carefully before laying it out in the reply.
We draft reply to memorandum on your behalf after carefully examining pros and cons of each fact / detail so as to protect your interest and at the same time putting the facts in the right perspective.
For this we require
i) Copy of memorandum; and
ii) your version / inputs on the events / allegations (It is necessary that you tell us everything you know so that we become aware of your strong points which can be highlighted in reply as well as weak points for which adequate reasoning / protection has to be built up)
We will draft a reply based on inputs from you to ensure that it clarifies your stand and at the same time cannot be used against you in future.
Findings of IA are based mostly on documents presented before the inquiry by PO and by defence and how they have been interpreted. Hence this step, along with preparation of defence brief is the most important stage in preparing your defence.
First of all it is necessary to study the documents to be used by PO during inquiry (hereinafter referred to as listed documents). These must be examined to study whether and how they prove the allegations leveled against you. Many a times there are contradictions in these documents and such contradictions have to be noted so as to be exploited during the inquiry proceedings / preparation of defence brief.
This is followed by an examination of relevant records / files to identify documents to be presented in your defence before inquiry. Here again each document has to be studied carefully before it is presented before the inquiry as many a times a document which apparently seems to be in your favour may contain some aspects which might actually weaken your case and help the PO in proving the allegations.
The officer served with a memo / charge sheet has a right to see listed documents to be presented by PO for proving the allegations / charges as well as to examine the relevant records
to mine the documents for his / her defence. However, this right for examining the records is not absolute and the relevance of these records to the case must be specified.
In Delhi NCR area we can extend our personal services to you for this purpose, but in other areas we can help you by going through management documents as well as documents mined out by you to examine their relevance as well as utility if you send us their copy through courier / email
Deposition of a Witness can be recorded either as a statement or in the form of Q & A. The defence must always insist on Q&A form for recording of deposition.
The earlier school of thought on defence laid a lot of emphasis on this part of the inquiry and would ask a lot many questions during inquiry proceedings from witnesses (Management as well as Defence). However, Inquiry Authorities normally base the findings of inquiry on the documents presented before the inquiry by PO in support of the allegations / charges and by defence for refuting the allegations / charges. Management / Defence Witnesses also are expected to depose on the basis of documents rather than giving their personal opinions or on the basis of hearsay. On the other hand asking too many questions from witnesses may reveal the defence strategy or may result in handing over some extra point to PO on a platter for proving the management case. Hence, the best strategy is to restrict questions during inquiry proceeding to clarify some of the points which are not immediately apparent from documents or to cases deposition of management seeks to express a personal opinion which is not based on documents.
Leading questions cannot be asked during examination-in-chief and defence has to guard against PO asking leading questions from Management witnesses during examination-in-chief. The leading questions are permitted during cross examination and this must be utilized to the hilt by framing questions which can be answered only in “yes” or “No”.
It has been observed that generally the Disciplinary Authority relies on what the IA considers having been proved during the course of inquiry and acts accordingly. Incidents of Disciplinary/ Appellate/ Review authority negating an allegation considered to have been proved by IA in his findings are very rare. Hence, Defence brief is the main deciding factor because IA forms his finding in respect of each allegation / charge based on whether the PO has been able to prove an allegation and whether the defence has been able to successfully refute the allegation in their briefs on the basis of documents / deposition of witnesses presented before the inquiry.
A very important principle here is the principle that
“A charge has to be proved by the employer against the delinquent and it is not for the delinquent to absolve himself from the charge”
The old school of thought laid a lot of emphasis on asking a lot of questions during inquiry proceedings and a somewhat lesser emphasis on preparation of defence brief. This strategy of defence is counterproductive and in our opinion Defence Brief submitted to IA is the most important document because IAs mostly base their findings on the written briefs submitted by PO and by defence. Even the relevant parts of inquiry proceedings have to be quoted again in defence brief otherwise they might be overlooked by IA.
Hence, in written defence each and every contention of PO has to be countered logically and at the same time arguments have to be placed before IA to refute each allegation / charge.
Final reference here relates to the reference by the disciplinary authority to the charged officer made forwarding of the report of the inquiry officer on its receipt and seeking his comments. This is also referred as the second time extension of natural justice. This opportunity is to be used to prove to DA where & How IA’s conclusion is wrong / what is overlooked.
* The disciplinary authority examines the report of IA and record of the inquiry, including the points raised by the CSO carefully and dispassionately and after satisfying itself that the CSO has been given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself, and records its findings in respect of each article of charge saying whether, in its opinion, it stands proved or not. The disciplinary authority shall if it disagrees with the findings of the inquiry authority on any article of charge, record its reasons for such disagreement and record its own findings on such charge, if the evidence on record is sufficient for the purpose.
* If the disciplinary authority, having regard to its findings on all or any of the article of charge, is of the opinion that any of the penalties specified in Regulations should be imposed on the officer employee, it shall, make an order imposing such penalty.
* If the disciplinary authority having regard to its findings on all or any of the article of charge, is of the opinion that no penalty is called for, it may pass an order exonerating the officer employee concerned.
For preparation of final reference to DA we have to study carefully each and every sentence in the Report of the Inquiry Officer, and leave all imputations/articles where the Inquiry Officer has given a verdict that these are not proved restricting our reference to only those imputations/articles where the inquiry officer has given the verdict "charge proved". For this we have to note all evidences in favour of the defence that have been omitted to be considered. That is, the inquiry officer has considered PO's evidence and arrived at its finding without taking into account the defence pleadings. These omissions have to be graded according to the seriousness, and the findings of the Inquiry Officers with reference to these imputations or articles are to be requested for reconsideration by the disciplinary authority.
You can represent against the decision taken by Disciplinary Authority as well as against quantum of penalty imposed to Appellant Authority and Review Authority through your Appeal / Review Petition. We provide assistance for preparing the same.
The appeal should cover your grievances under two headings as under:-
i. Violation of inquiry procedure, and denial of natural justice, stressing how this has deprived you the full extent of your opportunities, resulting in under-presentation of your case.
ii. How the Inquiry Officer has erred in interpreting the evidence on record and drawn a verdict causing injustice to you. On this subject you have already represented to the disciplinary authority, at the time of getting 2nd stage reference from him. You may dwell on the same points. If the disciplinary authority failed to consider your submissions under the 2nd stage reference by ignoring them and passed on his final order, as if your objections did not exist on record, this must be pointed out in the Appeal, as the first item of discrepancy on the part of the Disciplinary Authority.
DA Regulations provide the remedy of Review. This is to be done within 6 months of the final order passed in a disciplinary case. The wording of the Regulation indicates that the Bank may also at its own discretion without any reference by the delinquent officer exercise a review of a case by the Review Authority in this period. After the six month period is over, the case becomes once for all closed as the far as the Bank is concerned.
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