Some Salient “Dis-Similarities" between Domestic Inquiry and Internal Committee Inquiry are Listed below:-
1. Internal Committees have the Powers & Authority of Civil Courts to complete the Inquiries into Sexual Harassment Complaints Cases, whereas No such Authority or Power is bestowed on the Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee in Domestic Inquiry Proceedings;
2. Internal Committee's Jurisdiction is limited to dealing with Sexual Harassment Complaints and matters related to and connected with Sexual Harassment Complaints whereas an Inquiry Officer/Committee can be appointed to inquire into all types of Misconduct excluding alleged Misconducts of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace;
3. Internal Committees are Independent Legal Bodies/Entities and once Nominated they do not report to the Employer for Discharge of their Duties except seeking Assistance & Facilities for conducting IC Proceedings and submitting IC's Annual Report before the District Officer whereas for Domestic Inquiry the Employers appoint the Inquiry Officer/ Committee who report to the Appointing Authority case to case basis but are not required to File any Annual Report before Govt Authority;
4. Internal Committees must be constituted for every Workplace in organized Sector by Every Employer employing Ten and more Employees including Contract Labour etc, whereas there is No such Guideline for Domestic Inquiry;
5. Domestic Inquiry can be done by a Single Inquiry Officer or Two Members Inquiry Committee whereas Internal Committee (IC) Inquiry is done by Minimum Four (04) Members Committee present throughout Inquiry Proceedings;
7. Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee Members may be One Male or all Male Committee or One Female or all Females or a combination of One Male and One Female each whereas 50% of Internal Committee Members including Presiding Officer must be Women-Employees of each ;
8. Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee Members may be Employees of the Establishment or Non-Employees Outsiders whereas Minimum Three Members of the Internal Committee including Presiding Officer must be Employees of the Workplace;
9. Internal Committees came into existence in 2013 whereas Domestic Inquiries are in practice since 1946;
10. For Domestic Inquiry, the Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee is “Appointed by Employers” on separate occasions and each time or as and when Misconduct is alleged against an Employee; whereas Internal Committee (IC) is a Standing Committee constituted forever consisting of Four Members who are “Nominated by Employers” for a Period/Term of up to Three Years in One Go with the proviso that the Presiding Officer or Member may be re-Nominated on completion of their preceding Term of Nomination;
11. Inquiry Officer or Committee becomes automatically “ Defunct”/ No Longer in Existence as soon as the Domestic Inquiry Report is submitted; whereas Internal Committee is a Standing Committee and continues to be in Existence even after submitting IC Inquiry Report in a Case;
12. The Findings of Internal Committee is Final and Binding on Employers, whereas the Findings of Domestic Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee is Not Binding on the Employer and as such the Employer has the Prerogative or Privilege to accept or Not accept the Findings of Inquiry Officer/Committee;
14. Internal Committee has 24 Legal Duties to Discharge whereas the Inquiry Officer or Inquiry Committee has One Single and Exclusive Duty to conduct the Domestic Inquiry for which specifically Appointed and submit Inquiry Report with Findings on completion of Inquiry;
15. Internal Committees must not reveal Identities of the Aggrieved Woman-Complainant, the Contents of the Complaint and anything about Internal Committee Proceedings, Findings and Recommendation whereas there is No such expressed Guideline for Domestic Inquiry unless specifically spelt out in Certified Standing Orders or the Codified Service Rules.
This Comparative Study is my way of sharing my understanding of the Domestic Inquiry vis-a-vis IC Inquiry.
I earnestly look forwardto valuable Comments & Suggestions from esteemed Readers of CiteHR Posts