20 cases in a year, with not more than 4 cases at a time.
Each cadre controlling authority will select and maintain these panels of retired inquiry officers. Such an officer can’t however be over 65 years in age. Also, he or she should be in “sound health - both physically and mentally” and should not be “an accused officer in any pending inquiry and should be of impeccable integrity”.
The panel of the retired officers created for the purpose of conducting departmental inquiry will be valid for a period of three years.
A three-member committee comprising joint secretary-level officers including CVO of the ministry/departments/PSUs concerned, would be constituted by the respective cadre controlling authority. The other two members can be from the same ministry/department or from the attached or subordinate office, according to the OM. After the receipt of willingness of the retired officers, names of the officers will be screened by the panel so constituted and the pool of officers will be created rank-wise viz., deputy secretary, director, joint secretary, additional secretary, secretary, etc. “Approval of Minister-in-charge may be solicited for making the panel of the officers. Appointment of Inquiry Officer, from the panel of eligible retired officers, will be done by a random draw of lot”, the OM said.
The terms and conditions for appointment of retired officers as the inquiry officer shall require to give an undertaking as follows:-
(i) that he/she is not a witness or a complainant in the matter to be inquired into or a close relative or a known friend of the delinquent government officer.
(ii) shall maintain strict secrecy in relation to the documents he/she receives or information/data collected by him/her in connection with the inquiry and utilize the same only for the purpose of inquiry in the case entrusted to him/her.
If the inquiry officer had retired from a post of joint secretary or above, he would get an honorarium up to Rs 75,000 per case. A transport allowance of Rs 40,000 per case and secretarial allowance of Rs 30,000 per case would be extra.