Punishment to Employee
Any punishment of suspension or dismissal can be imposed after conducting a 'Domestic Enquiry'. Principles of natural justice have to be followed. Termination of an employee without following principles of natural justice is violative of Article 21 of Constitution - D K Yadav v. JMA Industries Ltd. 1993(67) FLR 111 (SC) = 1993 LLR 584 = 1993 AIR SCW 1995 = (1993) 3 SCC 259 = 1993(3) SCALE 39 = JT (1993) 3 SC 617 = 1993(2) LLN 575 (SC).
For proper conduct of enquiry (1) Employee should be informed of charges leveled against him (2) Witnesses should be ordinarily examined before him. (3) The employee should be given fair opportunity to cross examine the witnesses, including himself (4) The enquiry officer should record his findings with reasons. - Sur Enamel v. Workmen (1964) 3 SCR 616 = (1963) 2 LLJ 367 (SC) * Calcutta Dock Labour Board v. J Imam (1965) 3 SCR 453 = 1965(2) LLJ 112 (SC).
The workman is issued with a 'Show Cause Notice' giving details of charges of misconduct against him. He has to give his reply. Then, enquiry into charges is conducted by an 'Enquiry Officer' appointed by Management. Such 'Enquiry Officer' can be an employee of the company or an outsider. The workman can defend himself before the Enquiry Officer or he can be defended by his co-worker or a Union Representative. The workman is not allowed to engage a lawyer to defend his case. After enquiry, the 'Enquiry Officer' has to give his findings and state whether he finds the workman 'guilty' or 'not guilty'. He should give reasons for his views. However, the 'Enquiry Officer' should not give his opinion about the punishment that should be imposed on the workman. Copy of the report of Enquiry Officer has to be given to the workman. - UOI v. Mohd Ramzan Khan - (1991) 1 SCC 588 = AIR 1991 SC 471 = JT (1990) 4 SC 456 = 1990(2) SCALE 1094 = 1991 I CLR 61 (SC). The workman has right to state his case on the basis of 'Enquiry Report' e.g. the workman may agree that he is guilty but may plead for leniency, or he may point out discrepancies in the report of 'Enquiry Officer'. After the reply of workman, the authorised Manager will go through enquiry papers, report of Enquiry Officer and observations/reply of workman on the report of Enquiry Officer. The Authorised Manager will then issue suitable order. The 'Disciplinary Authority' should not be lower in rank or grade than the 'Appointing Authority'.