Korgaonkar K A
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Raj Kumar Hansdah
Shrm, Od, Hrd, Pms
+2 Others

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Can a Office Clerk be a Management Representative / Presenting Officer in Domestic Enquiries ? YES / NO.
Dear Venkatadri
Please give more information to arrive at a justified suggestion.
What is the misconduct ??
What is the designation of the Charge-sheeted employee ??
Although technically the advice given by Mr. Koragaonkar is correct; however it is customary to have senior officers (or an officer/executie grade) - comparable to the rank of the CSE - as Presenting Officer/Management Representative.
A clerk does not belong to the supervisory/managerial grade; and hence it would not be proper to make him a PO/MR. This can be resorted to only if you do not have officers/managers in your company; and that is what it conveys.
Warm regards.
Warm regards.

I have given specific & to the point answer to your specific & to the point question. I endorse our Super Moderator Raj Kumar ji. You need to see the ability of EO to conduct the enquiry. You need to see the ability of MR to represent / lead your case, examine / cross examine the withness etc. Please do not take the enquiry lightly.
One must see that what is the law based on this line. If you peruse the CCS (CCA) Rules or even RS (D & A) rules of the central government, then you will find that there are provisions which require that EO or the PO must not be below the rank of the delinquent or the disciplinary authority, this is done with a view of the protections provided to the government employees under Article 311 of the constitution of India. However all other employees who do not classify as government servant are not entitled to the benefits of Art. 311.

Now the requirement is only that there must be no violation of the principles of natural justice. Broadly speaking, the principles of natural justice although not a straight jacket formula are that no one should be condemned unheard and further no one can be a judge in his own cause. Thus in view of the above enunciated principles, there wont be a fallacy in appointing an office clerk as a PO if he has no involvement in the matter (This I say on the safer side), because ultimately the judge in any case shall be the EO only and not the PO.

Pankaj Agnihotri.

Pankaj Agnihotri and Raj Kumar have cited certain key factors to be considered while appointing Presenting Officers.You have not thrown any light on the circumstances that are compeling you to consider the option of makin a clerk as presenting officer.However the follwing guidelines may be of help.

1) Presenting the case and leading evidence on behalf of mangement before an enquiry officer, in my view, is an administrtaive function and cannot fall under the purview of any categories of functions referred to under Sec.2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act and hence a clerk who is a workman, cannot be entrusted an administrative function.

2) Presenting is not an ordinary job but a huge respnsibility. It requires proper understanding of procedures and principles of natural justice, ability to interpret the evidence and apply it to the case to prove the delinquent guilty For example, a fraud needs technical understanding of procedures and accounting principles etc to prove the guilt effectively..Any improper presentation may prove costly both to the employee or to the employer. It all depends up on the nature of misconduct and the status of the delinquent employee.

3)Govt.establishments and industrial establishments in public sector have their own disciplinary rules and procedures defining every step in disciplinary process like appointing Presenting officers and Enquiry officers and defence representaives etc.In respect of private sector covered by Standing Ordes, the certified Standing orders will cover this issue.Thet need to follow them.

4)If the establishment's standing orders are silent or it is one not covered by standing orders or it is one which does not have any rules, such establsihments may consider appointing any officer for presenting the case or if for nay reason, this not possible, it may consider appointing an outsider like an ex-officer from a company acquained with disciplinary matters, as Presenting officer.

Dear Saiconsult
I highly appreciate your response, which is based on sound reasoning and references.
Its provides good learning on Guidelines for appointing a Presenting Officer/Management Representative in Domestic Enquiries.
Warm regards.

Dear Friends,
I too appreciate the answer by Sai Kumar ji which is based on sound reasoning and valid references. Thanks Sai Kumar ji for your participation not only in this particular discussion but in all your discussions which are good learning to the members of this forum. We have very few members knowledgeable like Sai Kumar ji, who make the discussions meaningful.
I also appreciate and thank Venkatadri ji for asking this question.

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