Monday, 5 July 2021

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 21 : Article from Mr. K.V.Shridharan

 Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 21 : Article from Mr. K.V.Shridharan


III.  Learn Conduct rules through Judicial judgments

1.    Integrity – Need for maintenance of integrity at all times by public servants

The Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules lay down, inter alia, that Government servants should, at all times, maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty. It is, in fact, axiomatic that Government servants especially those holding position of trust and responsibility should not only be honest, but also have the reputation of being so.

[Ahmad Hasan v. Chief Commissioner of Manipur, AIR 1966 Manipur 18.]

2.    Misconduct involving dishonesty is a serious misconduct

When an employee instead of depositing the amount in Bank misappropriated the same and made entries of false expenses and produced fictitious receipts, then he is guilty of trust of an aggravated nature calling for substantial punishment.

[State v. Shaik Daden, AIR 1958 AP 29]

3.    Duty of the supervisory officers to ensure the integrity of the staff working under them

Rule 3 of the C.C.S. (Conduct) Rules, as it stands now, is mainly based on the recommendations of Santhanam Committee (i.e., the Committee on Prevention of Corruption), which after carefully considering the views and comments of the different Ministries, Departments, suggested the following important changes in the Rules.

"(1) A duty is cast on the Government servants holding supervisory posts to keep a watchful eye on the integrity of the staff working under them.

(2) Every Government servant should take full responsibility for his actions and orders, except where he acts under the directions of his official superior.

(3) The conduct expected of Government servant in case of the conflict between public duty and private interest which had hitherto been applied must be clearly stated.* The intention of the Committee was that the Conduct Rules, particularly those relating to "integrity of Government servants must have a wider scope to include acceptance of full responsibilities of the job assigned to a public servant. The rule relating to 'absolute integrity as incorporated in the Conduct Rules now requires that each Government servant will act in his best judgment except when he is acting under the direction of an official superior. To evade responsibility or an attempt to do so by seeking instructions from an official superior where it is not necessary would now constitute breach of Conduct Rules and reflect adversely on the integrity of a Government servant. The gist of Rule 3 of the Conduct Rules is that a Government servant should not do anything which reflects adversely on his character and conduct. Whatever goes contrary to the requirement of Rule 3 (1) would be misconduct on the part of the Government servant.

[Om Prakash v. Director of Postal Services (P & T) Deptt. (1971) I SLR 648.]

4.    Lack of Devotion to duty

Devotion to duty implies due care on the part of an employee in performance of work assigned to him.

[Om Prakash Bindal v. Union of India (1984) 2 SLJ 28 (All.); (1984) SLR 391.]

5.    Act unbecoming of an employee

Rule 3 (1) (iii) of the CCS (Conduct) Rules merely asks Government servants not to do anything which is unbecoming of a Government servant. What is unbecoming can always be ascertained having regard to the entirety of the conduct and that the sub-rule merely asks him to keep himself within the bonds of administrative decency. It was further held "given common sense" and a sense of decency, it will not be difficult to judge whether, what conduct amounts to unbecoming conduct.

While discipline should be given due importance, one need not be too touchy too. Having regard to the then prevailing clash of interest between two groups in the department and the position occupied by the petitioner at the relevant time, it does not appear reasonable to hold that the petitioner was guilty of conduct unbecoming of a Government servant.

[ Mahendra Kumar v. Union of India (1984), SLJ 34 (A.P.) (1985), SLR 181.]

6.    Where an employee has participated in a strike which is not illegal, - - it is not an unbecoming act on his part nor does it amount to lack of) devotion to duty.

[ Suraj Prasad v. Northern Railway, AIR 1967 All. 457.]

It is not possible to give an exhaustive list of actions which would be unbecoming of a Government servant. There are well understood norms of conduct of morality, decency, decorum and propriety becoming of Government servants. A fall from such standard would render an act unbecoming of a Government servant.

[Inspecting Asst. Commissioner of Income Tax v. S.K. Gupta 1976(1) 143 Cal.]


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