Tuesday 6 July 2021

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 20 : Article from Mr. K.V.Shridharan

 Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 20 : Article from Mr. K.V.Shridharan


Click the below link to view previous topics

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 1

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 2

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 3

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 4

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 5 

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 6

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 7

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 8

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 9

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 10

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 11

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 12

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 13

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 14


Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 15


Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 16 

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 17 

Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 18


Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 19


Conduct & Disciplinary Rules - 20



III.  Learn Conduct rules through Judicial judgments

1.    Integrity – Need for maintenance of integrity at all times by public servants

The Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules lay down, inter alia, that Government servants should, at all times, maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty. It is, in fact, axiomatic that Government servants especially those holding position of trust and responsibility should not only be honest, but also have the reputation of being so.

[Ahmad Hasan v. Chief Commissioner of Manipur, AIR 1966 Manipur 18.]

2.    Misconduct involving dishonesty is a serious misconduct

When an employee instead of depositing the amount in Bank misappropriated the same and made entries of false expenses and produced fictitious receipts, then he is guilty of trust of an aggravated nature calling for substantial punishment.

[State v. Shaik Daden, AIR 1958 AP 29]

3.    Duty of the supervisory officers to ensure the integrity of the staff working under them

Rule 3 of the C.C.S. (Conduct) Rules, as it stands now, is mainly based on the recommendations of Santhanam Committee (i.e., the Committee on Prevention of Corruption), which after carefully considering the views and comments of the different Ministries, Departments, suggested the following important changes in the Rules.

"(1) A duty is cast on the Government servants holding supervisory posts to keep a watchful eye on the integrity of the staff working under them.

(2) Every Government servant should take full responsibility for his actions and orders, except where he acts under the directions of his official superior.

(3) The conduct expected of Government servant in case of the conflict between public duty and private interest which had hitherto been applied must be clearly stated.* The intention of the Committee was that the Conduct Rules, particularly those relating to "integrity of Government servants must have a wider scope to include acceptance of full responsibilities of the job assigned to a public servant. The rule relating to 'absolute integrity as incorporated in the Conduct Rules now requires that each Government servant will act in his best judgment except when he is acting under the direction of an official superior. To evade responsibility or an attempt to do so by seeking instructions from an official superior where it is not necessary would now constitute breach of Conduct Rules and reflect adversely on the integrity of a Government servant. The gist of Rule 3 of the Conduct Rules is that a Government servant should not do anything which reflects adversely on his character and conduct. Whatever goes contrary to the requirement of Rule 3 (1) would be misconduct on the part of the Government servant.

[Om Prakash v. Director of Postal Services (P & T) Deptt. (1971) I SLR 648.]

4.    Lack of Devotion to duty

Devotion to duty implies due care on the part of an employee in performance of work assigned to him.

[Om Prakash Bindal v. Union of India (1984) 2 SLJ 28 (All.); (1984) SLR 391.]

5.    Act unbecoming of an employee

Rule 3 (1) (iii) of the CCS (Conduct) Rules merely asks Government servants not to do anything which is unbecoming of a Government servant. What is unbecoming can always be ascertained having regard to the entirety of the conduct and that the sub-rule merely asks him to keep himself within the bonds of administrative decency. It was further held "given common sense" and a sense of decency, it will not be difficult to judge whether, what conduct amounts to unbecoming conduct.

While discipline should be given due importance, one need not be too touchy too. Having regard to the then prevailing clash of interest between two groups in the department and the position occupied by the petitioner at the relevant time, it does not appear reasonable to hold that the petitioner was guilty of conduct unbecoming of a Government servant.

Mahendra Kumar v. Union of India (1984), SLJ 34 (A.P.) (1985), SLR 181.]

6.    Where an employee has participated in a strike which is not illegal, - - it is not an unbecoming act on his part nor does it amount to lack of) devotion to duty.

[ Suraj Prasad v. Northern Railway, AIR 1967 All. 457.]

It is not possible to give an exhaustive list of actions which would be unbecoming of a Government servant. There are well understood norms of conduct of morality, decency, decorum and propriety becoming of Government servants. A fall from such standard would render an act unbecoming of a Government servant.

[Inspecting Asst. Commissioner of Income Tax v. S.K. Gupta 1976(1) 143 Cal.]C.C.S. (C.C.A.) RULES, 1965 – AN INTRODUCTION

III.  Learn Conduct rules through Judicial judgments

1.    Misconduct of departmental nature

It has been held by the Supreme Court quoting Stround's Judicial Dictionary that 'misconduct' means, misconduct arising from ill motive, acts of negligence; errors of judgment or innocent mistakes do not constitute such misconduct.

2.    What constitutes misconduct of a Government servant

(i)      The conduct which is blameworthy for the Government servant in the context of Conduct Rules would be misconduct.

(ii)     Deficiencies in personal character or personal ability like lack of efficiency, lack of foresight and indecisiveness would not constitute misconduct for the purpose of disciplinary proceedings.

(iii)   Competence for the post, capability to hold the same efficiency requisite for a post, ability to discharge functions attached to the post, are things different from some act or omission of the holder of the post which may be styled as misconduct so as to incur the penalty under the rules.

(iv)   These qualities may be very relevant while considering whether a person should be promoted to the higher post or not or having been promoted, whether he should be retained in the higher post or not or they may be relevant for deciding the competence of the person to hold the post.

(v)     Failure to attain the highest standard of efficiency in performance of duty, permitting an inference of negligence would not constitute misconduct nor for the purpose of Rule 3 of the Conduct Rules, as would indicate lack of devotion to duty.

(vi)   Gross or habitual negligence in performance of duty may not involve mens rea, but still constitute misconduct for disciplinary proceedings.

[Union of India and others v. ). Ahmed (1979) SLJ 308 (S.C.); 1979 Lab IC 792; 1979 (2) Lab L.J. 14; 1979. SCC (Lab) 157; 1979(2) SCC 286; AIR 1979 SC 1022.]

3.    What is "misconduct" - Supreme Court's ruling

The word "misconduct” though not capable of precise definition, its reflections receive its connotation from the context, the delinquency in its performance and its effect on the discipline and the nature of the duty. It may involve moral turpitude; it must be improper or wrong behaviour, unlawful behaviour, wilful in character; forbidden act, a transgression of established and definite rule of action or code of conduct but not mere error of judgement, carelessness or negligence in performance of the duty; the act complained of bears forbidden quality of character. Its ambit has to be construed with reference to the subject-matter and the context wherein the term occurs, regard being had to the scope of the statute and the public purpose it seeks to serve. Police service is a disciplined service and it requires to maintain strict discipline. Laxity in this behalf erodes discipline in the service causing serious effect in the maintenance of law and order.

[State of Punjab v. Ram Singh, Ex-Constable, ATR 1992 (2) SC; (1992) 21 ATC 43560

Note: The above two SC judgements can be cited in the replies to the charge sheets when warranted. Another important judgment about the charges of violation of rules should not be vague is produced hereunder

4.    Charge of the violation of Rule 3(1) of the Conduct Rules should not be vague

Rule 3 (1) of the CCS (Conduct) Rules is vague and of general nature. It is obligatory on the disciplinary authority to specify and, if necessary, define with precision and accuracy what constitutes a misconduct. Mere violation of a general provision such as contained in Rule 3.(1) does no constitute a misconduct and no penalty can be imposed for such violation. A charge that rests on the general definition of failure to maintain absolute integrity as a public servant may not be amenable to objective evaluation and may, therefore, lead to arbitrary and unfair penalization of the public servant concerned. The impugned officer was charged with not refunding the advance taken for housebuilding and not returning the advance taken for purchasing motorcycle within the stipulated time. He was removed from service after inquiry on the ground that the violation of rules granting house building advance amounted to not maintaining absolute integrity and thus he was found guilty of misconduct. The Supreme Court held that the charge framed against the impugned employee did not independently constitute misconduct and the description of failure to maintain absolute integrity was vague and of a general nature that could not justify the charge of misconduct. Moreover, rules for granting advances themselves provided the consequences of breach of the rules. There was, therefore, no ground for initiating disciplinary enquiry as the breach of the rules did not constitute misconduct.

[ A.L.Kalra v. Project & Equipment Corporation of India Ltd., AIR 1984 S.C. 1361.]



Before entering the new chapter of CCS CCA Rules 1965 and at first, and also as a prelude before we are discussing about the constitutional safe guards available to the Government servants, we are just having an introductory note on CCA Rules.

In respect of Conduct Rules, a detailed note was sent and subsequently, all the important orders have been sent to everyone. Hope all of you would have read or will complete before the end of the week.

An objective type questions will be prepared and sent to you for which you should answer and have a self-appraisal. You need not send the answer sheet but self-evaluate and know about the understanding on the subject.

     In this study materials before the introduction of CCS CCA Rules, we attempted to explain the Conduct rules with the Supreme Court judgments which are statutory in nature and can be used while drafting replies to the charge sheets. After a thorough study you can very well understand what is Rule 3 of the Conduct Rules. Please go through patiently with full concentration. Doubts may arise. We will clarify at a later stage.

The following are for refreshing the Conduct Rules with the judicial pronouncements so that you can learn better. As I told earlier, Please take print out and read the same repeatedly so that it will penetrate while you are drafting replies to the charge sheets. Can you?

Before entering the new subject, the substance of some important provisions of the conduct rules is furnished hereunder once again for refreshing the same.

(i)      Every Government servant shall at all times maintain absolute integrity, devotion to duty and do nothing which is unbecoming of a Government servant. [Rule 3 (1) of the CCS (Conduct ) Rules]

(ii)     He shall not indulge in any act of sexual harassment to any woman at her work place and those in charge of a workplace shall take appropriate steps to prevent sexual harassment to any woman at such work place. (Rule 3 (iv))

(iii)   He shall not use his position or influence to secure employment for any member of his family in any private undertaking. [Rule 4]

(iv)   He shall not take part in politics and elections. [Rule 5]

(v)     He shall not participate in demonstrations and strikes. [Rule 7]

(vi)   He should not criticize the Government. [Rule 9]

(vii) He should not accept gifts except on certain specified occasions and of specified amounts. [Rule 13]

(viii) He shall not engage himself in any trade or business or undertake any employment. [Rule 15]

(ix)   He is prohibited from investing, lending and borrowing except to the extent and in the manner provided. [Rule 16]

(x) He shall not acquire or dispose of any immovable or movable property beyond the limits specified without the previous sanction or knowledge of the prescribed authority. [Rule 18]

(xi)   He is prohibited from consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs in public place. [Rule 22]

(xii)  He is prohibited from a bigamous marriage. [Rule 21] 

II. Instances of acts of misconduct

1.  Wilful insubordination or disobedience, whether alone or in combination with others, to any lawful and reasonable order of superior.

(2) Infidelity, unfaithfulness, dishonesty, untrustworthiness, theft and fraud, or dishonesty in connection with the employer's business or property.

(3) Strike, picketing, gherao – striking work or inciting others to strike work in contravention of the provisions of any law, or rule having the force of law.

(4) Gross moral misconduct acts subversive of discipline Riotous and disorderly behaviour during working hours at the establishment or any act subversive of discipline.

(5) Riotous and disorderly behaviour during and after the factory hours or in business premises.

(6) Habitual late attendance.

(7) Negligence or neglect of work or duty amounting to misconduct Habitual negligence or neglect of work.

(8) Habitual absence without permission and over-staying leave.

(9) Conviction by a criminal court.

[Notes on CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964, published by Government of India, M.H.A; D.P A & A.R.-3rd Edition, 1980.]

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