ISLAMAABD-Prime Minister’s office has directed that all enquiries initiated under the Efficiency and Disciplinary (E&D) Rules, which are pending at any level beyond three months, should be finalised on merit and submitted to the concerned quarters within 90 working days.

“It has been noted with grave concern by the competent authority that inquiries under the Government Servants Efficiency and 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,” the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) stated in notification to all Chief Commissioners/Collectors/Director Generals on Wednesday.

The notification stated that E&D Rules 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 heat 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 enquiries initiated under the E&D Rules, which are pending at any level beyond three months, should be finalized on merit and submitted to the concerned quarters within 90 working days”.

The notification further stated that 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.

The FBR has noted with the concern that inquiry reports being received by it from authorized officers in the field formations do not qualify against the basic benchmark. “In so many cases, Inquiry Officers have not established the “charge levelled’ citing inability or failure on part of the DR to provide a certain document or provide the charge,” the FBR said.

It added that 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 Rules 7 of the E&D Rules, 1973, can exercise the powers to “summon any person, require production of documents, and receive evidence”, the notification said.

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 levelled.