What is the Purpose of Punishment to Government Employee for Violation of Conduct Rules?



In case of the Government employee the punishment could have any of the following purpose:

(i) Reformatory:

The punishment is supposed to give a lesson to the employee not to repeat the same mistake in future. This becomes necessary when an employee is not improving by methods other than punishment. For example when counseling does not work, censure or stoppage of increment, which comes on record, may improve the performance.

(ii) Deterrent:

If an employee goes unpunished for his mistakes, others may also become careless. Punishment for misconduct acts as a deterrent for other employees in the organization.

(iii) Retributory:

If a loss is caused to the Government it is ultimately the loss of the tax-payer. For bonafide mistakes the Government may ignore the loss. However, in case of gross negligence the Government may require the loss to be made good. To that extent the punishment is Retributory in nature.

In Government organizations the main purpose of the punishment is deterrent. In extreme cases the Government has to resort to penalties like removal and dismissal. In such cases the reformatory and retributive aspects become less important than the deterrent one. They are meant to serve as lessons to the other employees.


The procedure for punishment should be so devised as to be in conformity with the existing laws and rules and regulations. The basic provisions for dealing with the disciplinary matters concerning the Government employees are derived from Articles 311 of the Constitution which lays down that:

(a) No member of the Civil Service will be removed or dismissed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed.

(b) The cause for which action is being taken must be recorded in writing by the officer concerned.

(c) No person shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank until he has been given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken in regard to him.

Taking into account the interpretations given by the Law Court about the reasonable opportunity of showing cause, a detailed procedure has been laid down for conducting the enquiries and awarding punishment to the delinquent government officials. Some of the important features are described below.

Procedure for Minor Penalties

Relatively simple procedure has been prescribed for awarding minor penalties. A show cause notice has to be given to the delinquent official stating clearly the charges against him and the penalty that is proposed to be imposed on him.

The employee has a right of representation which has to be taken into consideration by the Disciplinary Authority. Whenever consultation with the Public Service Commission is necessary, its advice is also obtained and considered along with the show cause notice and the representation of the employee.

The disciplinary Authority may then come to a conclusion with or without any further enquiry and record a finding on the charges and the punishment to be meted out to the employee.

In such cases the procedure is a more detailed and comprehensive one and in many stages:

(a) A charge sheet along with a statement of allegations has to be served to the employee. This has to comprise detailed statements containing explanations for each article of charge along with a list of documents and witnesses who are to be relied upon to prove the charges:

(b) The employee has a right to submit his explanation on the charge-sheet. For this purpose he has to be shown all relevant documents and files concerning all the articles of the changes:

(c) After considering the charge-sheet, statement of allegations and explanation of the employee, disciplinary authority has to record a finding whether there is a prima facie case to start an enquiry or whether the case is to be dropped.

(d) If the disciplinary authority comes to the conclusion that an enquiry has to be conducted then it appoints an enquiry authority and directs the delinquent officer to present his case before that enquiry officer. He may also appoint a presenting officer to present the case before the Enquiry Officers.

(e) The Enquiry Officer records the statement of defence of the employee and records the evidence of the prosecution witnesses. The delinquent official has a right to cross examine these witness.

(f) The delinquent officer can then produce his witnesses which then can be cross-examine the Enquiry Officer or the presenting officer.

(g) The Enquiry Officer hears the delinquent official and gives him an opportunity to file his statement of account.

(h) Giving due considerations to all the material on record, the Enquiry Officer prepares his about each article of charge he has to record his finding whether it is proved or not prove

(i) The disciplinary authority then considers the report of the Enquiry Officers and then records own finding on each article of charge. He then makes available to the delinquent official at the report of the Enquiry Officer, and the statement of his own findings asking him to cause against the proposed penalty.

(j) If consultation with the Public Service Commission is necessary, the disciplinary authority m such a consultation.

(k) After considering the entire material on record including the reply of the delinquent official advice of the Public Service Commission, the Disciplinary Authority passes an order such penalty as he deems fit.

The discussion above makes it very clear that the procedure of the enquiry provides full opportunity to the delinquent official to present and argue his case and this constitutes reasonable opportunity showing cause.

Right of appeal

All the officers who are appointed in Central government by an authority subordinate to the President have a right of appeal to a specified authority.

Those who are appointed by the President himself no right of appeal, similarly in the case of state governments, the officers appointed by an auth subordinate to the Governor have a right of appeal to a specified authority.

Those appointed by Governor have no right of appeal. The appellate authority may uphold, set aside or modify the ord« the Disciplinary Authority or remand the case for further enquiry.

An appeal can be withheld by the disciplinary authority for following reasons:

(a) If it is time barred;

(b) If it is against the rules;

(c) If it is not in the proper form and does not contain the requisite information and documents

(d) If it is a repetition of previous appeals which have been rejected. Regarding the disciplinary proceedings the employees complain that:

The disciplinary proceedings are weighted against them because they are all along handle departmental officers;

Even the right of appeal does not have much value because the appeals are also handled by officers of the same department;

The appeals are withheld very often without proper reasons; at all levels there is a great delay in proceedings.