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Hi, A Union leader was transferred, but he got a stay from the Court against his transfer orders.

In the meantime, he was involved in serious misconduct, and Management suspended him pending enquiry. also, a criminal case was lodged against him under the provisions of IPC.

Now the Court has vacated the stay on his transfer and Management wants to relieve him immediately.

My query is that:
1.0 Whether anything is to be mentioned in the relieving letter related to ongoing disciplinary proceedings. We have given him the letter giving the date of start of enquiry proceedings but before the start of the enquiry we got a transfer stay vacated from the court and the circumstances compelled him to relieve himself and his new place.

2.0 What is the fate of the enquiry proceedings? At the new place, we will have to appoint a new Enquiry Officer.

3.0 Incidentally, enquiry letter is given but enquiry is not started. Suppose, if enquiry proceedings would have been started, how to effect the relieving in such cases. I mean can a workman be relieved amid ongoing enquiry proceedings, if yes, how to complete the enquiry proceedings at a new place where practically not possible to have the same enquiry officer? Can an enquiry be completed by two enquiry officers?


From India, Delhi

n the complex scenario described, where a union leader has been involved in serious misconduct, faced suspension pending enquiry, and had a criminal case lodged against him under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the situation has become legally intricate. The recent development of the court vacating the stay on his transfer has added another layer of complexity, as the management now seeks to relieve him immediately.

Regarding the queries raised:
It is essential to address ongoing disciplinary proceedings in the relieving letter. Even though the enquiry proceedings had not yet commenced due to the stay order, the circumstances have now changed with the stay being vacated. The relieving letter should mention the status of the ongoing disciplinary proceedings, the date when the enquiry was supposed to begin, and the reasons for the immediate relieving due to the court's decision and the individual's transfer.

The fate of the enquiry proceedings is subject to the specific policies and procedures of the organization. With the individual being relieved and transferred to a new location, a new Enquiry Officer will need to be appointed to conduct the proceedings at the new place. It is crucial to ensure that the new Enquiry Officer is impartial and follows due process in conducting the enquiry.

In the scenario where the enquiry proceedings had already commenced before the individual's relieving, the process becomes more complex. While it is possible to relieve a workman amid ongoing enquiry proceedings, it is essential to ensure that the enquiry is completed fairly and transparently. In cases where a new Enquiry Officer needs to take over at the new location, the continuity and integrity of the enquiry must be maintained.

Having two enquiry officers involved in completing the enquiry proceedings is a viable option, provided that proper documentation and handover procedures are followed to ensure a seamless transition. It is crucial to adhere to legal requirements, internal policies, and principles of natural justice throughout the entire process to uphold fairness and transparency.

In conclusion, navigating the complexities of relieving an employee amid ongoing disciplinary proceedings requires careful consideration of legal implications, procedural requirements, and ethical standards. By ensuring transparency, fairness, and adherence to due process, organizations can effectively manage such challenging situations while upholding principles of justice and integrity.


From India, Bangalore

Dear Dr. Raghunath, Mr. Madhu, and Esteemed Senior Experts, while addressing the original question, please also address the following query emerging out from the question with legal citations, if any:

An intriguing query has emerged in our recent discussions, and we would greatly appreciate your insights and guidance on the matter. The scenario involves a charge-sheeted workman transitioning to a new workplace, where the disciplinary authorities and the applicable certified standing orders may differ. We seek clarification on the following points:

Communication and Applicable Standing Orders: Upon joining the new workplace, who will be responsible for signing further communications? Additionally, which standing orders will apply to the workman upon their arrival at the new location?

Status of Suspension and Relieving: If the workman is relieved during the suspension period and subsequently joins the new workplace, what will be the status of his suspension? Furthermore, what communication should be provided to the workman regarding this transition?

Request your expert insights and guidance on these matters.

Thank you for your attention to this query.

Warm regards,

From India, Delhi

Before answering the queries, clarity needs to be given as to whether the transfer was to an outstation or it is at the same location. In either case, the enquiry can continue but the employee has to be afforded adequate opportunity to defend himself. Presuming it to be outstation, the enquiry can be held at the present place but the employee has to be treated as on duty and given travelling allowance and facilities to attend enquiry. If the Enquiry Officer and Presenting Officer could travel to the new place that would be an option. Anyhow, the delinquent employee should not be put any loss or prejudice in attending the enquiry.
As regards the queries it is clarified as follows:
1.0 The usual relieving order is to be issued and issue it fast lest the employee goes in appeal and obtains another favourable order. By a separate letter, you can clarify that the enquiry will proceed and the arrangement for it, like the venue, date and time as well as the facility being given to the employee like attendance, TA & DA etc.
2.0 The enquiry can continue, it is not necessary to appoint a new Enquiry Officer (EO)at the new place. If the present EO is not able to continue, then a new EO can be appointed. Since the proceedings have not started there is no prejudice caused to the employee in making the change in EO. There is no need to state the reason for changing the EO. Only a fresh order is to be issued to that effect.
3.0 Even if the enquiry proceedings had been started, still the relieving can be done but it is to be specified that the relieving is without prejudice to the action that can lie on the basis of the findings of the enquiry. There is nothing wrong if the enquiry is completed by two or more EOs, only thing is that the Principles of Natural Justice have to be complied by giving fair opportunity to the employee. The newly appointed EO has to continue the enquiry from the stage it is left now, the order appointing the new EO should specifically state so.

From India, Mumbai
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