Army Men Taking Leave without Permission Cannot be Efficient Soldiers: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court ruled that the army man are not good soldiers if they go home with an unauthorized leave. Therefore, it is better to discharge those men from the army without being served with the show cause notice. The Court on Wednesday upheld the decision of the government to terminate such persons who went on unauthorized leave without taking permission from the concerned authorities. The Court further said that there is no need to issue special notice prior to such discharge for such irresponsible and undisciplined army personnel. The bench consisted of Justice A R Dave and Justice A K Goel who were considering the appeal filed by the Central Government from the order issued by the High Court of Delhi.

Here, Manoj Deswal who was an army man in 2005 did not take the prior permission of his commanding officer for taking leave for 108 days. As a result, he was declared by the authority as a deserter and was therefore discharged by his Commanding Officer. He was discharged for the reason that he was not good to be an efficient soldier. The army man moved petition before the High Court of Delhi and the court quashed the order of the Government stating that Deswal was not permitted to present his case and the Government issued order to Deswal without providing notice. The order of the High Court was challenged by the Government in the Apex Court. After examining the documents, the Court concluded that the matter was inquired properly and hence the order of discharge was correct.

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To substantiate its order, the Court further said that an army man who was absent from service without taking permission and was declared by the concerned authorities as a deserter cannot become a good soldier. A commanding officer is empowered under the Act to discharge a non- attested person, the Court added. The commanding officer in this case had conducted proper scrutiny and came to the conclusion that Ddeswal had taken leave without sanction and consequently was announced to be a deserter. Hence, it is clear from his undisguised behavior that he is not an efficient soldier. The Court said that the Delhi High Court had erred in its order and the decision of the Central Government was upheld.

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Adv. Jewel Panicker