Legal Advice

Minor penalty can be inflicted without holding full-fledged departmental inquiry

Question: I am an upper division clerk in the office of District Magistrate. Can a minor penalty be inflicted without holding full-fledged departmental inquiry? Some arm licences have been issued from my office after approval of the District Magistrate. Upon receiving the complaint about some anomalies, the government had passed an order to conduct a departmental inquiry. The inquiry officer has found that three employees, including me, are responsible. Thereupon he has fremaded several charges against us and issued show cause notice..  I have submitted my replay against the show cause notice. After accepting my show cause notice thereupon department has inflicted a penalty and stopped one increment for two years and one month salary. These penalties have been imposed without holding departmental inquiry. There is no witness and documentary evidence. Inquiry officer did not furnish evidence and name of witnesses. Please advise me in this circumstance.


These penalties are minor in nature. You have submitted your reply against the show cause notice. It proves that the department has communicated all materials, evidence and particulars of charges along with the show cause notice. 

At this juncture, you cannot say that the department did not furnish evidence, name of witnesses and report of inquiry officer. If you did not receive these materials then how did you submit your reply? This burden of proof lies upon you. It would be hard for you to discharge this burden of proof after the award of punishment. 

When you have submitted the reply then you cannot say afterward that you had no information about the charges and incriminating materials. If you did not receive the report of the inquiry officer then you should ask the disciplinary authority to furnish that report. Because it is the duty of the disciplinary authority to communicate the inquiry officer’s report to the delinquent officer. 

Minor penalty without holding a fresh departmental inquiry

So far as the minor penalty is concerned, it seems proper and lawful. There is no infirmity in the order of punishment. According to Rule 10 of U.P.G.S.(D&A) Rules 1999 the disciplinary authority can impose a minor penalty without holding a full-fledged departmental inquiry

In D.H.B.V.N.L. Vidyut Nagar Hisar vs Y. S. Gulia (2013) 11 SCC 173 the Supreme Court has held that the disciplinary authority can impose a minor penalty without conducting a departmental inquiry if the service rule/regulation permits it to do so. 

There is no legal peculiarity in the punishment so far as it relates to the imposing minor punishment without holding the full-fledged departmental inquiry. If there is no evidence which supports the rationale of punishment then you can challenge the punishment order. You should move a writ petition before the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. In that writ petition you should seek quashing of the punishment order and provide all consequential benefits.

Shivendra Pratap Singh


High Court Lucknow

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