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Inquiry officer has been changed without furnishing any reason thereof: What should I do?

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

29/08/2022

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Question: I am working in the irrigation department of the Government of Uttar Pradesh. A departmental inquiry was set up against me for the irregularities in disbursement of grant to the beneficiaries. The inquiry officer did not find any evidence against me and submitted his report with a remark to exonerate me of all the charges. That inquiry officer has been changed without furnishing any reason thereof.

The superintendent engineer (disciplinary authority) has changed the inquiry officer and handed over the case to the new inquiry officer. He did not inform me about the change of inquiry officer. There was no reason except to punish me. I want to challenge this move please suggest.

Asked from: Uttar Pradesh

Generally the disciplinary authority does not change the inquiry officer. Once the departmental inquiry has commenced against the  delinquent employee, the inquiry officer takes evidence, records statements and prepares the report. Therefore, he should not be changed. But it does not mean that there is no chance to change the inquiry officer. 

If there is cogent reason such as his biasness, inclination towards the delinquent or inability to conclude the inquiry the disciplinary authority has the power to change that inquiry officer. Such a change must be supported by a cogent reason. He (disciplinary authority) has to record the reason thereof and communicate it to the delinquent officer. 

If there is no defect in the report of the inquiry officer the disciplinary authority should not change him without furnishing a good reason thereof. The inquiry officer has exonerated the delinquent government servant shall not hold the field for appointing a fresh inquiry officer. 

Also read: Can High Court reappreciate evidence of departmental inquiry?

Hence, you should file a writ petition in the High Court and challenge the illegal and arbitrary order of disciplinary authority. The disciplinary authority has changed the inquiry officer after furnishing his report which goes in favour of the delinquent officer.

There is no reason for appointing a fresh inquiry officer. The finding of the inquiry report renders a presumption of innocence in your favour. Therefore, you have the grounds to challenge the appointment to a fresh inquiry officer without recording any reason.

shivendra pratap singh advocate

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

Practising lawyer in the High Court Lucknow. You can consult on Criminal, Civil, Matrimonial, Writ, Service matters, Property, Revenue and RERA related issues.

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