Punishment for dismissal from duties valid for long unauthorized absence from duty: Delhi High Court

For long unauthorized absence from duty, the punishment of dismissal of a CAPF personnel cannot be held to be per se disproportionate. The above was observed by the Delhi High Court recently, in the matter of Mohd. Rafi v. Deputy Inspector General, CRPF & Ors. & Ors.  [W.P.(C) 9854/2021 & CM APPLs. 30337-338/2021]. The matter was heard on 8th of September 2021, before a division bench, consisting of Justice Manmohan and Justice Navin Chawla.

The facts of the case are as follows. The petitioner was a Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) officer. He was an under obligation to return back to the duty after the expiry of the leave, that was sanctioned to him. And in furtherance to the above, he didn’t join his duty again.

The counsel on the behalf of the petitioners contended that there was no such issue of his rejoining that came to him. According to the petitioners, the dismissal from his post was highly disproportionate.

The court, upon hearing the argument, facts analyzed and evidence scrutinized held that “the petitioner, who is a member of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), was obliged to report back to duty after expiry of the leave. Respondents/CRPF was under no obligation in law to keep on issuing notices to invite the petitioner to re-join his service. Consequently, this Court is of the view that the petitioner has violated his solemn duty and responsibility to report back on time.” The court also held that the factum of matrimonial dispute and illness could have been agitated before the Inquiry Officer. In any event the petitioner should have either reported back on time or sought extension of his leave– which he did not do in the present case. For long unauthorised absence from duty the punishment of dismissal of a CAPF personnel cannot be held to be per se disproportionate.”

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