LAHORE: Pakistan Customs and Inland Revenue (IR) inquiry officer has been asked to actively inquire into and apply an independent mind to arrive at a conclusion not rely only on the ability of the Department Representative (DR) to prove or disprove the charges leveled against any employee under the Government Servants Efficiency & Disciplinary (E&D) Rules, 1973.
It is directed that all officers who have been appointed as Inquiry Officers by the Board or by the authorized officers in the field may be directed to strictly comply with the instructions given.
It has been noted with grave concern by the competent authority that inquiries under the Government Servants Efficiency & Disciplinary (E&D) Rules, 1973, entrusted with field officers are submitted to the concerned Authorized Officers after a lapse of considerable time and with inordinate delay.
Whereas it is understood that E&D, Rules, themselves do not unequivocally provide a time frame within which an inquiry’ has to be completed, however, the urgency in completing the inquiries is implicit in the procedure provided under Rule 6 of the E&D Rules, whereby it has been instructed that an “inquiry officer or Committee, as the case may be, shall. hear the case from day to day basis and no adjournment shall be given except for reasons to be recorded in writing”. In addition to this the Prime Minister’s Office, through the Cabinet Division, has directed that all inquiries initiated under the E&D Rules, pending at any level beyond three months, shall be finalized on merit, and submitted to the concerned quarters within 90 working days”.
Furthermore, appointment as an inquiry officer under the relevant rules is a sacred trust, bearing both responsibilities to the State, the nation and the department, and obligations to be fair, impartial and just. It is again noted with concern that Industry Reports being received by the Board and being submitted to Authorized Officers in the field formations do not qualify against this basic benchmark. In so many cases Inquiry Officers have not established the charges leveled” citing inability or failure on part of the DR to provide a certain document or prove the charge.
It should be noted that an Inquiry Officer is not a judge presiding over an adversarial judicial system where two different parties have to prove or disprove their case. As the title itself implies, an Inquiry Officer has to inquire into the subject matter and, under Rule 7 of the E&D Rules, 1973, can exercise the powers to summon any person, require production of documents, and receive evidence.
It is expected that an inquiry Officer shall actively inquire into and apply an independent mind to arrive at a conclusion and not rely only on the ability of the DR to prove or disprove the charges leveled in view of the above, it is directed that all officers who have been appointed as inquiry officers by the Board or by the Authorized Officers in the field may be directed to strictly comply with the instructions given above.