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PRESENTING OFFICER MAY BE A WITNESS IN A DOMESTIC INQUIRY

Other Topics - By: - Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN - Dated:- 17-6-2015 - The requisite of a valid domestic inquiry are as follows: The employee proceeded against has been informed clearly of all the charges framed against him; The witnesses are examined - ordinarily in the presence of employee in support of the charges; The employee is given an opportunity to cross examine the management s witnesses; The employee is given a fair opportunity to examine his witnesses including himself in his defence if .....

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d moral principles intended to supplement the existing law and not supplant it. The details of the procedure that are to be followed by the Inquiry Officer in a domestic inquiry are not prescribed in any rules framed under any statute. The Inquiry Officer may evolve his own procedure in the absence of any guidelines but the procedure must be fair, free from arbitrariness and in conformity with the principles of natural justice. In a domestic inquiry the management has the right to present its ca .....

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Bengal has referred an industrial dispute between the appellant and the Government to the Industrial Tribunal. The Dispute arose as the said employee was dismissed from service after a domestic inquiry. The Tribunal set aside the dismissal order on the plea that the participation of the Presenting Officer as a witness in the domestic inquiry rendered the inquiry as well as the entire proceeding inoperative and without jurisdiction. In this regard the Tribunal relied on the judgments of Kolkata H .....

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ismissal imposed on the employee should be quashed. Against the order of the Tribunal the appellant filed the present appeal. The employee relied on the decision in Coking Coal Limited V. Surendra Pratap Narayan Singh - 2003 (9) TMI 764 - CALCUTTA HIGH COURT in which the Court observed that the Presenting Officer acted a s witness in the enquiry proceedings was an abnormal feature in the conduct of the Inquiry. Normally the Presenting Officer has to present the case of a management and he cannot .....

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COURT. In this case the High Court held that the employer being a corporate body was to act through individuals. The Presenting Officer deposed before the Inquiry Officer. The delinquent had an opportunity to cross examine him. The Court was unable to find out any law by which the Presenting Officer was precluded from giving any evidence. In the instant case the Presenting Officer was an employee of the appellant. He was representing the appellant before the Inquiry Officer. Hence he was entitl .....

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to the employee concerned . The Larger Bench referred to some judgments. In Management of Glaxo India Limited V. Presiding Officer, Labor Court, Guntur - 1992 (2) TMI 365 - ANDHRA PRADESH HIGH COURT, the High Court held that there was nothing wrong or irregular in the Presenting Officer going to the box as a witness for the management. In N.N. Rao V. Greaves Cotton and Company - 1971 (3) TMI 117 - BOMBAY HIGH COURT the High Court observed that Shri G.G. Naik has not only given evidence as a witn .....

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to examine the witnesses in support of his complaint. This is normally done where legal assistance is not available and we can see nothing wrong in principle in the Inquiry Officer allowing G.G. Naik to continue the proceedings although he was himself a witness. The Larger Bench was of the view, the fact that the complainant acted as the Presenting Officer by itself will not vitiate a domestic inquiry if no other question of prejudice is there. There is no principle of natural justice which requ .....

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