Admission of Charges & Holding of Enquiry
What course should be followed by an employer when the charge-sheeted employee admits the charges levelled against him?
It will not be advisable for an employer to proceed forthwith to award any punishment to an employee concerned without first holding an enquiry for the simple reason that the concerned employee may later on completely deny having made any such statement on admission of his guilt or else allege that an admission was obtained from him under coercion or duress and it was not a voluntary admission at all.1 In the light of such possibilities as pointed out above, the best course is to have an enquiry made despite his admission.
If the workman concerned does not repudiate his admission but stands by it in the course of enquiry, then in that case the only difference may be to obviate the necessity for the enquiry officer to record evidence in order to bring home the charges. The enquiry officer then may give his findings on the basis of an admission made by the employee concerned and corroborated by him in the presence of the enquiry officer. The admission or confession made in the presence of the enquiry officer must not only be recorded by him but the enquiry office must also obtain the signature of the charge-sheeted employee on it and this should be done despite any admission or confession made in writing by him earlier and now produced by the management before the enquiry officer.2
In one case, before the Delhi High Court, it has been held that dispensation of holding enquiry on unambiguous admission by a workman will not be justified.3 The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that when a delinquent employee has admitted the charges as levied by the charge-sheet, it was not necessary to hold an enquiry hence, the order of punishment passed without holding of enquiry cannot be held to be illegal.4 When termination of the workmen was made stating that their certificates, in support of their application for appointment, were not found genuine, they cannot say that the enquiry should have been held, more particularly when in their representation or even in writ petition they have nowhere stated that the certificates were not forged but genuine hence the High Court has held that no show-cause notice or even the enquiry was necessary.5