Tag Archives: Cross Examination

Departmental Enquiry – Duty of Disciplinary Authority

In Chamoli District Co-operative Bank Ltd. v. Raghunath Singh Rana, (2016) 12 SCC 204, it was held as under:
“(i) The enquiries must be conducted bona fide and care must be taken to see that the enquiries do not become empty formalities.
(ii) If an officer is a witness to any of the incidents which is the subject matter of the enquiry or if the enquiry was initiated on a report of an officer, then in all fairness he should not be the Enquiry Officer. If the said position becomes known after the appointment of the Enquiry Officer, during the enquiry, steps should be taken to see that the task of holding an enquiry is assigned to some other officer.
(iii) In an enquiry, the employer/department should take steps first to lead evidence against the workman/delinquent charged and give an opportunity to him to cross examine the witnesses of the employer. Only thereafter, the workman/delinquent be asked whether he wants to lead any evidence and asked to give any explanation about the evidence led against him.
(iv) On receipt of the enquiry report, before proceeding further, it is incumbent on the part of the disciplinary/punishing authority to supply a copy of the enquiry report and all connected materials relied on by the enquiry officer to enable him to offer his views, if any.”
The principal of law that emanates is that initial burden is on the department to prove the charges. In case where enquiry is initiated with a view to inflict major penalty, department must prove charges by adducing evidence by holding oral enquiry. State of U.P. v. Aditya Prasad Srivastava, (2017) 2 UPLBEC 901.

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Power of Attorney Holder – Entitlement to Plead

An agent is always allowed and permitted to make and set forth the pleadings on behalf of his Principal in India. Therefore, deposing on behalf of the Principal in a court being part of exercise of tendering evidence is not a forbidden exercise to be indulged in by an agent. Such persons are entitled to be cross examined as the act and art of cross examination being essentially to ascertain the veracity of the statements/submissions made by a witness and in that process, extract the whole of the truth. Section 18 of the Evidence Act, clearly permits and allows evidence to be collected even from an agent.

The power of attorney holder is not entitled to plead on behalf of the Principal, but he can only lead evidence or settle the pleading in the form of a plaint or written statement or petition. Smt. Shilpa Chaudhary v. Principal Judge, Family Court, Muzaffarnagar, 2016 (116) ALR 206.

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