Ashok Kumar v. DG. BSF Case doesn’t create a rule for leniency to intoxicated BSF personnel with mental tension: Delhi High Court

The issue is whether a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, being under intoxication due to mental tension and who misbehaves with the superior officers deserve leniency as per the case of Ashok Kumar v. DG. BSF. This was clarified in the case of Guddu Kumar v. Union of India and Others, in W.P.(C) 13572/2021, decided by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Manmohan & Hon’ble Mr. Justice Navin Chawla on December 1, 2021.

Facts of the Case: The petitioner to the case being a Border Security Force personnel was dismissed from the service through an order dated 29.12.2020 passed by the Commandant 148 BN, Border Security Force (BSF). Another order dated 13.04.2021 passed by respondent no. 3, dismissing the representation of the petitioner against the order of removal from service; and another order dated 09.06.2021 was passed by respondent no. 2 on the ground that under Section 117 of the Border Security Force Act, 1968 read with Rule 167(2) of the Border Security Force Rules, 1969, a person aggrieved by any order passed by the Summary Security Force Court (SSFC) can present only one petition to any of the officers. Aggrieved by the aforementioned orders, the petitioner had filed this Writ Petition seeking relief.

Contentions of the Petitioner (Guddu Kumar): The counsel for petitioner contended that a total of six charges were framed viz. intoxication while on duty, misbehaved and abusing the senior officers, use of threatening language, unauthorized possession of liquor and mobile phone, and refusal to sit in the ambulance for medical tests. The learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the petitioner was forced to enter a plea of guilty on the six charges against him and on the basis of this forced plea of guilt entered by the petitioner, the SSFC held the petitioner to be guilty of the charges framed against him without recording any evidence. The petitioner referred to the case of Ashok Kumar v. DG. BSF & Ors. (W.P. (C) 2145/1998) where it is submitted that the petitioner was suffering from mental tension as his father was hospitalized and he doesn’t know about the situation and in duress had consumed alcohol and therefore, deserved leniency.

Contentions of the Respondent (BSF & UOI): The learned counsel for the respondent contended that the petitioner was found to be under the influence of alcohol and used threatening and insubordinate language to his superior officers. The above charges framed against the petitioner are extremely grave. The same clearly reflect gross indiscipline on part of the petitioner. The petitioner is a member of a disciplined force and was found to be indulging in these activities while being on duty. Moreover, the admission of guilt was not forced as the petitioner has appended his signature on the proceeding sheet. The proceeding sheet also records that the petitioner was warned of the repercussion of such admission. The said proceedings are dated 29.12.2020 and surely the petitioner understood the same.

Judgment by the Court: After considering the submissions made by the parties, the Court held that the charges against the petitioner are of grave nature and the penalty imposed on the petitioner is not disproportionate. The observation of this Court in Ashok Kumar case cannot be considered as having laid down as a rule that in every case where an officer of Armed Force is found to be intoxicated on duty and indulging in unruly behavior, he would deserve leniency. Therefore, no merits are found in the present petition. The same is dismissed.

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Judgment reviewed by Revanth.

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