For long unauthorized absence from duty the punishment of dismissal of personnel cannot be held to be per se disproportionate : Delhi High Court

Every employee has the right to avail leave for various reasons, however such leave requires to within the authorised period, anything that exceeds it is required to be submitted for further approval. This was held in the judgment passed by a two-judge bench comprising HON’BLE JUSTICES MR. JUSTICE MANMOHAN and MR. JUSTICE NAVIN CHAWLA, in the matter of MOHD. RAFI V. DEPUTY INSPECTOR GENERAL ,CRPF & ORS (W.P.(C) 9854/2021 & CM APPLs. 30337-338/2021), dealt with an issue where the petitioner filed a petition challenging orders dated 11th June, 2019 issued by the Respondent No. 1 and order dated 08th August, 2017 issued by the Respondent No. 2, whereby the Petitioner was removed from service. Petitioner also seeks reinstatement of service with full back wages and other consequential benefits.

The counsel for the petitioner stated that the Petitioner was not served with any notice asking him to re-join his duty or regarding initiation of departmental proceedings for the alleged misconduct of over staying on sanctioned leave. He further stated that the punishment of removal from service for alleged misconduct of continuous absence from duty with effect from 06th June, 2016 awarded under Section 11(1) of the CRPF Act, 1949 is highly disproportionate. He stated that the Petitioner over stayed his leave due to his mental condition and subsequent illness caused due to the matrimonial cases instituted by the Petitioner’s wife against him before the family court, Moradabad and the removal of the Petitioner’s minor children from his custody.

The Court presents the view 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.

After hearing both the parties The Hon’ble Delhi High Court dismissed the petition and held that 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 and that the factum of matrimonial dispute and illness could have been agitated before the Inquiry Officer.

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