DoPT forms strict rules for tainted babus

Tight leash

“Don’t allow an accused official to hold a pen and never leave files in his custody during examination of documents at the preliminary hearing of a departmental case against him. Also, act like a hot stove to ensure that no one deviates from rules.”

These are part of a 239-page handbook brought out by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for senior officials assigned to probe charges against government servants. Prepared by Sethu Ramalingam, a former faculty with Institute of Secretariat Training and Management, the handbook has elaborated on a variety of issues from role of disciplinary authorities to the drafting of charge sheet to the quantum of punishment.

Precautions have to be taken by the presenting officer during inspection by an accused officer as he could manipulate documents if he has a pen with him.
A “small dot or bar or a comma or a colon” can change the content of the originals enormously and so a pen should be strict no but he can use a pencil to take notes.

The handbook cautions that great care has to be exercised during inspection of original documents as there have been occasions wherein the originals were destroyed during inspection.

So, presenting officers are advised that the files to be examined be placed equidistant between the charged officer and themselves as it will enable the latter to have physical control of the original document if the other tries to destroy.

However, it should be ensured that the accused is dealt with courtesy.
The disciplinary authority, at the same time, should act like a hot stove, the handbook said. It should give advance warning that one may burn himself if he crosses the limit. Also, there should be consistency in its actions.

The authority should be “impersonal (as) hot stove treats all alike. It does not show any favouritism or spare anybody. Similarly, the disciplinary authority should treat all employees alike without any discrimination. (There should be) immediate action just as the hot stove burns the fingers of those who touch it without any time lag”.

If a government servant is involved in a dowry death case and arrested for culpable homicide, the disciplinary authority should suspend him irrespective of the duration of the custody.

Even if there is no arrest, the officer should be placed under suspension on submission of the relevant report by police to magistrate.

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