Decided on August 17,2007

UNION OF INDIA Respondents


S.N.AGGARWAL, J. - (1.) The legality, validity and the effect of a discharge order terminating the services of the petitioner during training without giving him a show cause notice of proposed termination is the only question that calls for our consideration in this writ petition. The background facts of the case necessary to deal and decide the above referred question are not in dispute and are delineated herein below.
(2.) The petitioner was recruited for the post of Store Hand Technical (SHT) in Army Supply Corps and he joined basic military training at Army Training Centre, Bangalore on 14.8.2004 He successfully completed his basic military training during the period between 23.8.2004 to 4.1.2005. He was granted annual leave for 28 days from 5.1.2005 to 1.2.2005. His technical training started in February, 2005. Immediately after start of his technical training, he fell ill and was hospitalised for four days from 4.2.2005 to 8.2.2005. Later he was granted 15 days casual leave from 24.2.2005 to 10.3.2005. On 11.3.2005 he rejoined his training but on that date he received a message from his home that his mother was not well. On 12.3.2005 he sought voluntary discharge but he withdrew the same on 14.3.2005. Thereafter he absented himself from the training from 2.4.2005 onwards till he rejoined training of his own on 21.7.2005. On 27.8.2005 he was informed by his Commanding Officer that his services stood terminated w.e.f. that date. The discharge order was sent to the petitioner vide communication dated 22.9.2005 signed by Lt.Col., Senior Record Officer, for OIC Records, Bangalore. The petitioner was discharged from service during training under Army Rule 13(3)(IV) of the Army Rules, 1954 on the ground that he was unlikely to make an efficient soldier. It is this discharge order which the petitioner has challenged in the present writ petition.
(3.) Though the impugned discharge order has been challenged by the petitioner on several grounds but during arguments, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner had restricted his arguments only on the point of service of show cause notice not given to the petitioner before terminating his services while he was undergoing training. It was contended by the learned counsel that the petitioner could not have been terminated from army service without giving him an opportunity to explain his conduct relating to his alleged absence from training w.e.f 2.4.2005 till 21.7.2005. On the other hand, counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents had argued that the respondents were justified in terminating the services of the petitioner during training period as he unauthorisedly absented himself from training for a period of 108 days from 2.5.2005 till 21.7.2005. It was further contended by the learned counsel for the respondents that no show cause notice was required to be given to the petitioner in terms of Rule 13(3)(IV) of the Army Rules, 1954 before terminating his services on the ground that he was unlikely to make an efficient soldier. As per counsel for the respondents there is no infirmity in the impugned discharge order and the same cannot be interfered with only for want of service of show cause notice upon the petitioner.;

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