Promotion of Government servants against whom disciplinary/court proceedings are pending or whose conduct is under investigation – Procedure and guidelines to be followed.
Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
Department of Personnel & Training
North Block, New Delhi-110001
Dated, the 14th Sept., 1992
Subject: Promotion of Government servants against whom disciplinary/court proceedings are pending or whose conduct is under investigation – Procedure and guidelines to be followed.
The undersigned is directed to refer to Department of Personnel & Training O.M.No.22011/2/86-Estt.(A) dated 12th January, 1988 and subsequent instructions issued from time to time on the above subject and to say that the procedure and guidelines to be followed in the matter of promotion of Government servants against whom disciplinary/Court proceedings are pending or whose conduct is under investigation have been reviewed carefully. Government have also noticed the judgment dated 27.8.1991 of the Supreme Court in Union of India etc. Vs. K.V. Jankiraman etc. (AIR 1991 SC 2010). As a result of the review and in supersession of all the earlier instructions on the subject (referred to in the margin). The procedure to be followed in this regard by the authorities concerned is laid down in the subsequent paras of this O.M. for their guidance.
2. At the time of consideration of the cases of Government servant for promotion details of Government servant in the consideration zone for promotion falling under the following category should be specifically brought to the notice of the Departmental Promotion Committee.
i) Government servants under suspension
ii) Government servants in respect of whom a charge sheet has been issued and the disciplinary proceedings are pending; and
iii) Government servants in respect of whom prosecution for criminal charge is pending.
2.1 The Departmental Promotion Committee shall assess the suitability of Government servants coming within the purview of the circumstances mentioned above along with other eligible candidates without taking into consideration the disciplinary case/criminal prosecution pending. The assessment of the DPC including ‘unfit for promotion’ and the grading awarded by it will be kept in a sealed cover. The cover will be superscribed ‘Findings regarding suitability for promotion to the grade/post of ……….in respect of Shri………..(name of the Government servant). Not to be opened till the terminator of the disciplinary case/criminal prosecution against Shri…….’. The proceeding of the DPC need only contain the note ‘The findings are contained in the attached sealed cover’. The authority competent to fill the vacancy should be separately advised to fill the vacancy in the higher grade only in an officiating capacity when the findings of the DPC in respect of the suitability of a Government servant for his promotion are kept in a sealed cover.
2.2 The same procedure outlined in para 2.1 above will be followed by the subsequent Departmental Promotion Committee convened till the disciplinary case/criminal prosecution against the Government servant concerned is concluded.
3. On the conclusion of the disciplinary case/criminal prosecution which results in dropping of allegations against the Government servant, the sealed cover or covers shall be opened. In case the Government servant is completely exercised the due date of his promotion will be determined with reference to the position assigned to him in the findings kept in the sealed cover/covers and with reference to the date of promotion of his next junior on the basis of such position. The Government servant may be promoted, if necessary, by reverting the junior most officiating person. He may be promoted notionally with reference to the date of promotion of his junior. However, whether the officer concerned will be entitled to any arrears of pay for the period of notional promotion preceding the date of actual promotion and if so to what extent, will be decided by the appointing authority by taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances of the disciplinary proceeding/criminal prosecution. Where the authority denies arrears of salary or part of it, it will record its reasons for doing so. It is not possible to anticipate and enunciate exhaustively all the circumstances under which such denials of arrears of salary or part of it may become necessary. However, there may be cases where the proceedings, whether disciplinary or criminal, are, for example delayed at the instance of the employee or the clearance in the disciplinary proceedings or acquittal in the criminal proceedings is with benefit of doubt or on account of nonavailability of evidence due to the acts attributable to the employee etc. These are only some of the circumstances where such denial can be justified.
3.1 If any penalty is imposed on the Government servant as a result of the disciplinary proceedings or if he is found guilty in the criminal prosecution against him, the findings of the sealed cover/covers shall not be acted upon. His case for promotion may be considered by the next DPC in the normal course and having regard to the penalty imposed on him.
3.2 It is also clarified that in a case where disciplinary proceedings have been hold under the relevant disciplinary rules, ‘warning’ should not be issued as a result of such proceedings. If it is found as a result of the proceedings, that some blame attached to the Government servant; at least the penalty of `censure’ should be imposed.
4. It is necessary to ensure that the disciplinary case/criminal prosecution instituted against any Government servant is not unduly prolonged and all efforts to finalize expeditiously the proceedings should be taken so that the need for keeping the case of a Government servant in a sealed cover is limited to the barest minimum. It has, therefore, been decided that the appointing authorities concerned should review comprehensively the cases of Government servants, whose suitability for promotion to a higher grade has been kept in a sealed cover on the expiry of 6 months from the date of convening the first Departmental Promotion Committee which had adjudged his suitability and kept its findings in the sealed cover. Such a review should be done subsequently also every six months. The review should, inter alia, cover the progress made in the disciplinary proceedings/criminal prosecution and the further measures to be taken to expedite the completion.
5. In spite of the six monthly review referred to in para 4 above, there may be some cases, where the disciplinary case/criminal prosecution against the Government servant is not concluded even after the expiry of two years from the date of the meeting of the first DPC, which kepts its findings in respect of the Government servant in a sealed cover. In such a situation the appointing authority may review the case of the Government servant, provided he is not under suspension, to consider the desirability of given him ad-hoc promotion keeping in view the following aspects:-
a) Whether the promotion of the officer will be against the public interest;
b) Whether the charge are grave enough to warrant continued denial of promotion;
c) Whether there is any likelihood of the case coming to a conclusion in the near future;
d) Whether the delay in the finalization of proceedings, departmental or in a court of law, is not directly or indirectly attributable to the Government servant concerned; and
e) Whether there is any likelihood of misuse of official position which the Government servant may occupy after adhoc promotion, which may adversely affect the conduct of the departmental case/criminal prosecution.
The appointing authority should also consult the Central Bureau of Investigation and take their views into account where the departmental proceedings or criminal prosecution arose out of the investigations conducted by the Bureau.
5.1 In case the appointing authority comes to a conclusion that it would not be against the public interest to allow ad-hoc promotion to the Government servant, his case should be placed before the next DPC hold in the normal course after the expiry of the two year period to decide whether the officer is suitable for promotion on ad-hoc basis. Where the Government servant is considered for ad-hoc promotion, the Departmental Promotion Committee should make its assessment on the basis of the totality of the individual’s record of service without taking into account the pending disciplinary case/criminal prosecutions against him.
5.2 After a decision is taken to promote a Government servant on an ad-hoc basis, an order of promotion may be issued making it clear in the order itself that:-
i) the promotion is being made on purely ad-hoc basis and the ad-hoc promotion will not confer any right for regular promotion; and
ii) the promotion shall be “until further orders”. It should also be indicated in the orders that the Government reserve the right to cancel the adhoc promotion and revert at any time the Government servant to the post from which he was promoted.
5.3 If the Government servant concerned is acquitted in the criminal prosecutions on the merits of the case or is fully exonerated in the departmental proceeding, the ad-hoc promotion already made may be confirmed and the promotion treated as a regular one from the date of the ad-hoc promotion will all attendant benefits. In case the Government servant could have normally got his regular promotion from a date prior to the date of his ad-hoc promotion with reference to his placements in the DPC proceedings kept in the sealed cover(s) and the actual date of promotion of the person ranked immediately junior to him by the same DPC. He would also be allowed his due seniority and benefit of notional promotion as envisaged in para 3 above.
5.4 If the Government servant is not acquitted on merits in the criminal prosecution but purely on technical grounds and Government either proposes to take up the matter to a higher court or to proceed against him departmentally or if the Government servant is not exonerated in the departmental proceedings, the ad-hoc promotion granted to him should be brought to an end.
6. The procedure outlined in the preceding paras should also be followed in considering the claim for confirmation of an officer under suspension, etc. A permanent vacancy should be reserved for such an officer when his case is placed in sealed cover by the DPC.
7. A Government servant, who is recommended for promotion by the Departmental Promotion Committee but in whose case any of the circumstances mentioned in para 2 above arise after the recommendations of the DPC are received but before he is actually promoted, will be considered as if his case had been placed in a sealed cover by the DPC. He shall not be promoted until he is completely exonerated of the charges against him and the provisions contained in this O.M. will be applicable in his case also.
8. In so far as the personnel serving in the Indian Audit and Accounts Department are concerned, these instructions have been issued after consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
9. Hindi version will follow.