Grounds for penalty

When can a penalty be imposed on a civil servant? This question is answered by rule 3 which states that the authority may impose one or more penalties on a on him where a government servant, in its opinion:

(a) is inefficient or has ceased to be efficient; or  

(b) is guilty of misconduct; or  

(c) is corrupt, or may reasonably be considered corrupt because–

  (i) he is, or any of his dependents or any other person through him or on his behalf is, in possession (for which he cannot reasonably account) of pecuniary resources or of property disproportionate to his known sources of income; or

  (ii) he has assumed a style of living beyond his ostensible means; or

  (iii) he has persistent reputation of being corrupt; or

 (d) is engaged, or is reasonably suspected of being engaged, in subversive activities, or is reasonably suspected of being associated with others engaged in subversive activities or is guilty of disclosure of official secrets to any unauthorised person, and his retention in service is, therefore prejudicial to national security, the authority may impose on him one or more penalties.

Grounds for Penalty under E & D Rules, 1973

A civil servant is inefficient if he cannot properly perform the functions for which he was appointed. For example, if an accountant cannot maintain the accounts of his department properly or there are glaring mistakes over and again in the accounts which he has duty to maintain. He can be said to inefficient. Similarly, if an assistant commissioner, due to his negligence or otherwise, severely fails to maintain the law and order situation within the limits of his authority, he can be said to be inefficient to discharge his functions. Now imagine a civil servant who was functioning properly and efficiently on his post. But on his transfer or promotion to another post he cannot discharge his duties properly. Can he be said to efficient? This could be the case of civil servant who is ceased to be efficient.

If civil servant is guilty of misconduct he is liable to penalty under E& D Rules, 1973. The term misconduct is defined by the definition clause of the rules; misconduct is a conduct which is prejudicial to the good order or service discipline, e.g., habitual absentees, habitual non-observance of office timing, etc. Similarly, bringing or attempting to bring political or outside influence to bear on the government or government servant for promotion, transfer or other condition of service also falls in the definition of misconduct on behalf of the government servant. Moreover, misconduct on the part of a civil servant is a conduct which is unbecoming of an officer or a gentleman or a conduct which is contrary to the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1964. The Conduct Rules, as they are generally called, put a number of restrictions on government servants and elaborate the procedure for certain actions when permitted. For example a government servant or his family member, without the prior sanction of government, must not accept the gifts from private persons which could place him under an official obligation to the donor. If a gift is offered by a foreign representative or head of state and cannot be refused without offence, the gift can be accepted but its acceptance must be reported to the Cabinet Division for order at its disposal.  Similarly, the Conduct Rules prohibits a government servant to lend or borrow money or place himself under any pecuniary obligations to any person within the local limits of his authority. The Conduct Rules put a number of restrictions on civil servant the violation of which falls in the definition of misconduct.

The third ground for penalty under the E&D Rules, 1973 is when a civil servant is corrupt or reasonably considered to be corrupt. When can a civil servant be reasonably considered to be corrupt? Rule 3, clause C, sub-clauses i, ii and iii has elaborated this situation. A civil servant can reasonably be considered to be corrupt if he or any of his dependents or any person (not necessarily dependent) through him or on his behalf is in possession of pecuniary resources which are disproportionate to his known sources of income. Likewise, if a civil servant has assumed a life style beyond his ostensible or knows means of income or he has a persistent reputation of being corrupt, he can reasonably be considered to be corrupt.

Fourth ground of penalty for a civil servant is that when his retention in the service is prejudicial to the security of Pakistan. A civil servant can be prejudicial to national security when he is engaged or reasonably suspected to be engaged in subversive activities or is associated with others engaged in subversive activities. For example, if a civil servant is a member or facilitator of terrorist group or is associated with other enemies of the state, his retention in the service can be prejudicial to the national security. Similarly, if a civil servant is guilty of disclosing official secrets to unathorised person, he is also prejudicial to the security of Pakistan and liable to penalty under the E&D Rules, 1973.

Penalties

If a civil servant is guilty of any of the above mentioned grounds the authority may impose one or more penalties on him. But which penalties can be imposed on him? Can he be imprisoned for habitual absentees, for example? Certainly not. Because as the definition clause provided that a penalty means a penalty which may be imposed under these rules. The penalties which may be imposed under these rules are provided by rule 4 which are as follows:

(a) Minor Penalties:

(i) censure;

(ii) withholding, for a specific period, promotion or increment, otherwise than for unfitness for promotion or financial advancement in accordance with the rules or orders pertaining to the service or post;

  (iii) stoppage, for a specific period, at an efficiency bar in the time-scale, otherwise than for unfitness to cross such bar;

  (iv) recovery from pay of the whole or any part of any pecuniary loss caused to Government by negligence or breach of orders;

(b) Major Penalties:

  (i) reduction to a lower post or time-scale, or to a lower stage in a time-scale;

  (ii) compulsory retirement;

  (iii) removal from service; and

  (iv) dismissal from service.

 Clause 2 of Rule 4 makes it clear that removal from service does not, but dismissal from service does, disqualify for future employment.

It is also explained by clause 3 of Rule 4 that removal or dismissal from service does not include the discharge of a person–

 (a) appointed on probation, during the period of probation, or in accordance with the probation or training rules applicable to him; or

 (b) appointed, otherwise than under a contract, to hold a temporary appointment, on the expiration of the period of appointment; or

 (c) engaged under a contract in accordance with the terms of the contract.

Kinds of Penalties under E & D Rules, 1973

Minor penalties

It needs to be pointed that censure is the mildest of penalties e.g. reprimand, caution or warning letter. It does not have any financial impacts on the civil servant. But these letters are added to his personal file which may impact his promotion or posting in the future.

Second of the minor penalties is withholding the promotion or increment for a specific period. If the promotion of a civil servant is stopped for a period of one year, for example, he cannot get promoted to the next grade for one year even if he is otherwise eligible. It is also to kept in mind that the penalty of withholding of promotion is applicable not from the date of imposition of penalty but from the date of eligibility for promotion. The promotion shall be withheld of servant from the date when he becomes eligible for promotion. Similarly, the increment, the annual increase in the salary on the basis of basic pay in every December can also be stopped for a specific period as a minor penalty.

Third of the minor penalties is stoppage, for a specific period, at an efficiency bar in the time scale. All the civil servants have a time scale which is relevant in the matter of promotions to next scale. After every year a civil servant go one stage ahead on the time scale of his post.  Some scales have 16 stages other have 12. When efficiency bar is stopped it halts or slows down the promotion of a government servant.  For example, a civil servant served in BPS-16 for four years so he is in 4th stage of his time scale. If his efficiency bar is stopped there for a specific period his promotion will also be slowed down. This is the reason that a civil servant sometimes reaches to the top hierarchy of his department while his batch fellows remain behind in different lower stages.

The last minor penalty which may be imposed under E&D Rules is recovery of pecuniary losses from the pay of a civil servant which he caused to government by negligence or breach of order. If for example, a government servant damaged government vehicle through his negligence in an accident. The amount which is spent on the repair of the vehicle shall be recovered from his pay.

Major penalties

First of the major penalties under the E&D Rules, 1973 is reduction to a lower post or time scale or to lower stage in time scale.  This is generally called demotion. Demotion or reduction is of three kinds: demotion in post, demotion in scale and demotion to a lower stage in time scale. Demoting a Superintendent to Stenographer can be the example of demotion in post. He shall retain his own scale but will be functioning as a Stenographer, a lower post. The example of demotion in scale is that when a civil servant is reduced from BPS-18 to BPS-17. However, it needs to be pointed out that a civil servant cannot be demoted to a lower scale than the scale of his initial appointment.  For example, if a civil servant was initially appointed in BPS-17 and then reached to PBS-18 through promotion, he cannot be demoted to BPS-16 as a penalty. The example of demotion to lower stage in time scale would be that when a civil servant is demoted to lower stage in his own scale. For example a civil servant who was in 12th stage of his time scale in BPS 16 can be demoted to 9th or 10th stage of time scale in BPS-16.

Second of the major penalties under these rules is compulsory retirement or forced retirement. A civil servant may be forced to retire earlier from his due date of retirement. It is pertinent to mention here that as per section 13 of the Civil Servants Act, 1973 a civil servant retires  either at the maturity of service i.e. after twenty years of service or at the age superannuation i.e. on the completion of 60th years of his age.  After twenty years of service civil a servant may choose to retire after qualifying for pension and other retirement benefits. If he does not choose to retire after twenty years of service, then he shall retire at the age of superannuation. The penalty of compulsory retirement can be imposed on a civil servant who continues in service after maturity of service and before the age of superannuation if he is found guilty of the grounds mentioned in rule 3. For example if the authority is of the opinion that his retention in service is prejudicial to the security of Pakistan because the civil servant disclosed official secrets. But since he has served for at least twenty years the authority wants to give him some concession; it does not remove or dismiss him from service. He is forced to retire with some concessionary benefits which would not have been available to him if removed or dismissed from service. 

Other two major penalties under E&D Rules are removal from service and dismissal from service. In both the cases civil servant loses his job without any retirement benefits. The difference between removal from service and dismissal from service is that the later has more intensity for the career of the civil servant than the former. Removal from service does not disqualify him for future employment. He can seek other jobs in the civil service after removal from service while in case of dismissal from service he is disqualified for the future employment; his career as a civil servant is finished then and there.

It is also pertinent to mention that removal from service or dismissal service does not include the discharge from service of a person who was:

(a) Appointed on probation, during the period of probation, or in accordance with probation or training rules applicable to him

(b) Appointed on a temporary post, otherwise than under a contract and whose period of appointment expired.

(c) Engaged under a contract and discharged in accordance with the terms of contract.

Give your valuable feedback about this post in the comment section below, please.

5283 COMMENTS

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