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 In many cases on behalf of employee a ground is taken that during inquiry proceedings, certain documents were not supplied to him and thus the inquiry proceedings are bad in Law as there is non compliance of principles of natural justice. In this regard our judiciary is of view that the delinquent employee has to show as to what prejudice has been caused to him in absence of those documents.


In State of U.P. Vs. Ramesh Chandra Mangalik[1] the supreme court observed:-
" Learned counsel for the appellant has further submitted that particular documents copies of which are said to have not been supplied are not indicated by the respondent much less in the order of the High Court nor their relevance has been pointed out. The submission is that the delinquent will also have to show as to in what manner any particular document was relevant in connection with the inquiry and what prejudice was caused to him by non-furnishing of a copy of the document. In support of this contention, reliance has been placed upon a case reported in Chandrama Tewari v. Union of India.[2] It has been observed in this case that the obligation to supply copies of documents is confined only to material and relevant documents which may have been relied upon in support of the charges. It is further observed that if a document even though mentioned in the memo of charges, has no bearing on the charges or if it is not relied upon or it may not be necessary for cross-examination of any witness, non-supply of such a document will not cause any prejudice to the delinquent. The inquiry would not be vitiated in such circumstances. In State of Tamil Nadu v. Thiru K.V. Perumal and others[3] relied upon by the appellant, it is held that it is for the delinquent to show the relevance of a document a copy of which he insists to be supplied to him. Prejudice caused by non-supply of document has also to be seen. In yet another case relied upon by the learned counsel for the appellant State of U.P. v. Harendra Arora and another[4], it has been held that a delinquent must show the prejudice caused to him by non-supply of copy of document where order of punishment is challenged on that ground.”

Similarly, in Syndicate Bank & Ors. Vs. Venktesh Gururao Kurati[5], the Supreme Court observed that:

"In our view, non-supply of documents on which the Enquiry Officer does not rely during the course of enquiry does not create any prejudice to the delinquent. It is only those documents, which are relied upon by the Enquiry Officer to arrive at his conclusion, the non-supply of which would cause prejudice being violative of principles of natural justice. Even then, the non-supply of those documents prejudice the case of delinquent officer must be established by the delinquent officer. It is well settled law that the doctrine of principles of natural justice are not embodied rules. It cannot be put in a straitjacket formula. It depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. To sustain the allegation of violation of principles of natural justice, one must establish that prejudice has been caused to him for non-observance of principles of natural justice."

Therefore it must be shown that any material or document, copy of which has not been supplied to the respondent, was used against him and a prejudice was caused to him. Where it is not shown by the employee that any particular document which may have been made use of by the Inquiry Officer for establishing the charges leveled against him, copies of which or inspection thereof may not have been allowed to the him by the Department, he can not say that any prejudice has been caused to him.

[1] (2002) 3 SCC 443

[2] 1987 (Supp) SCC 518

[3] (1996) 5 SCC 474

[4] (2001) 6 SCC 392

[5] 2006 AIR SCW 680

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Category Labour & Service Law, Other Articles by - Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar