G.1., C.V.C. Cir­cu­lar No. 98/DSP/9 (Part-2), No. 03/03/16, dated 7-3-2016

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The Com­mis­sion has been re­ceiv­ing ref­er­ences from de­part­ments/or­ga­ni­za­tions seek­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the ac­tion to be taken on pseudony­mous com­plaints which were acted upon at dif­fer­ent stages of process, in­clud­ing un­der dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings, be­fore the is­suance of CVC Cir­cu­lar No 07/11/2014 dated 25th Novem­ber, 2014 on the cap­tioned sub­ject. A few Court de­ci­sions aris­ing out of the Com­mis­sion’s guide­lines is­sued ear­lier on the sub­ject were also brought to the no­tice of the Com­mis­sion.

The Com­mis­sion con­sid­ered the de­tails of the Court or­ders/judg­ments and in one in­stance, the Cen­tral Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal (CAT), Prin­ci­pal Bench, Delhi, had quashed the charge-sheet, dated 14-10-2004 is­sued to the delin­quent of­fi­cial based on the pseudony­mous com­plaints, dated 18-2-1997 and 2-4-1997, vide or­der dated 20-7-2005. The CAT had quashed the charge-sheet served mainly con­sid­er­ing the cir­cu­lars of the Com­mis­sion dated 29-6-1999 and 31-1-2002 on the sub­ject. In the or­der dated 20-7-2005, it was ob­served that the charge-sheet, dated 14-10-2004 was is­sued pur­suant to pseudony­mous com­plaints re­ceived ear­lier and there­fore is in vi­o­la­tion of the Com­mis­sion’s cir­cu­lars dated 29-6-1999 and 31-1-2002. The High Court agreed with the find­ings and ob­ser­va­tions of the CAT and dis­missed the depart­ment’s Writ Pe­ti­tion filed against the or­der of the CAT in lim­ine. There­after, the Supreme Court had also dis­missed the depart­ment’s Civil Ap­peal in the mat­ter. The CAT’s de­ci­sion is based on the judg­ment dated 26-9-2003 of the Madras High Court (in an­other case) wherein it was ob­served that the pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry re­port dated 25-52000 based on an anony­mous com­plaint was sub­se­quent to the CVC’s cir­cu­lar, dated 29-6-1999 and, there­fore, is li­able to be quashed and fur­ther the pro­hi­bi­tion (in CVC cir­cu­lar) that “no ac­tion will cover all pend­ing pro­ceed­ings on that date”.

The in­struc­tions/guide­lines is­sued from time to time on the sub­ject mat­ter by the DoP&T/CVC are as fol­lows: (i) The DoP&T’s O.M. No. 321/4/910-AVD. III, dated 29-9-1992 that no ac­tion is re­quired to be taken on anony­mous/pseudony­mous com­plaints in gen­eral, pro­vided the op­tion to in­quire into such com­plaints which con­tained ver­i­fi­able de­tails.

(ii) The Com­mis­sion’s ini­tial Cir­cu­lar No. 3(v)/99/2, dated 29-6-1999 pre­scrib­ing that no ac­tion should be taken on anony­mous / pseudony­mous com­plaints and should just be filed.

(iii) The Com­mis­sion’s Cir­cu­lar No.98/DSP/9, dated 311-2002 re­it­er­at­ing that un­der no cir­cum­stances, should any in­ves­ti­ga­tion be com­menced on anony­mous/ pseudony­mous com­plaints.

(iv) The Com­mis­sion’s Cir­cu­lar No. 98/DSP/9, dated 11-10-2002 re­view­ing its ear­lier in­struc­tions of 1999, pro­vid­ing that if any depart­ment/or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­poses to look into the ver­i­fi­able facts al­leged in anony­mous/ pseudony­mous, com­plaints, it may re­fer the mat­ter to the Com­mis­sion seek­ing its con­cur­rence through the CVO or the head of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

(v) The DoP&T’s, O.M. No. 104/76/2011-AVD. I dated 1810-2013 that no ac­tion is re­quired to be taken on anony­mous com­plaints, ir­re­spec­tive of the na­ture of al­le­ga­tions and such com­plaints need to be sim­ply filed.

(vi) The Com­mis­sion’s Cir­cu­lar No. 07/11/2014 dated 2511-2014 with­draw­ing a Cir­cu­lar dated 11-10-2002 and re­it­er­at­ing pre­vi­ous cir­cu­lars, dated 29-6-1999 and 31-1-2002 to the ef­fect that no ac­tion should be taken on anony­mous / pseudony­mous com­plaints and such com­plaints should be filed.

Since the afore­said is­sues aris­ing out of the ob­ser­va­tions of the CAT and the High Court of Madras in­volve in­ter­pre­ta­tion of sub­stan­tial ques­tions of law, the opin­ion of the Ld. At­tor­ney-Gen­eral for In­dia was sought by the Com­mis­sion. The Ld. At­tor­ney-Gen­eral for In­dia has fur­nished his opin­ion and clar­i­fied that un­less ex­pressly stated, all ex­ec­u­tive cir­cu­lars are prospec­tive in na­ture and they do not have ret­ro­spec­tive ef­fect. Only a law can be ret­ro­spec­tive if a law ex­pressly states that it will be ret­ro­spec­tive or the in­ten­tion to that ef­fect is very clear. It is fur­ther clar­i­fied that an anony­mous/ pseudony­mous com­plaint, say made in 1997, i.e, prior to the pro­hibitory cir­cu­lar, dated 29-6-1999, ought to have been gen­er­ally not en­ter­tained but if there was ver­i­fi­able ma­te­rial in ac­cor­dance with the DoP&T’s O.M. of 1992 and in­ves­ti­ga­tion has com­menced, the same would have to be taken to its log­i­cal con­clu­sion notwith­standThe ing the is­sue of a later cir­cu­lar dated 29-6-1999.

Based on the opin­ion fur­nished by the Ld. At­tor­ney-Gen­eral, the fol­low­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tions are be­ing is­sued:

(i) No ac­tion should be taken on anony­mous/pseudony­mous com­plaints in line with Com­mis­sion’s present in­struc­tions dated 25th Novem­ber, 2014 and such com­plaints should be filed.

(ii) How­ever, where ac­tion was ini­ti­ated on anony­mous/ pseudony­mous com­plaints prior to the is­sue of the CVC’s cir­cu­lar dated 29-6-1999 and was pend­ing as on 29-6-1999, it can be pur­sued fur­ther to its log­i­cal end.

(iii) Where ac­tion was ini­ti­ated on anony­mous/pseudony­mous com­plaints be­tween the pe­riod 11-10-2002 and 25-11-2004 with prior con­cur­rence of the CVC but is pend­ing, fur­ther ac­tion is per­mis­si­ble on such com­plaints.

(iv) Ma­te­rial/ev­i­dence gath­ered dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion/ ver­i­fi­ca­tion of anony­mous com­plaints when the ac­tion was pro­hib­ited on such com­plaints (i.e. be­tween 29-6-1999 and 11-10-2002), or where such in­quiry was ini­ti­ated with­out the ap­proval of the CVC, can be uti­lized for fur­ther ini­ti­a­tion of dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings on mis­con­ducts no­ticed in such ver­i­fi­ca­tion/in­quiry.

All ad­min­is­tra­tive au­thor­i­ties/CVOs may note the above clar­i­fi­ca­tions for guid­ance/com­pli­ance while han­dling and pro­cess­ing mat­ters aris­ing out of anony­mous/pseudony­mous com­plaints. ■

ac­tion on anony­mous/ pseudony­mous com­plaints

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