Decided on July 07,2006

STATE OF JANDK Respondents


- (1.) THE relevant facts for the disposal of this petition are as under: - Petitioner was appointed as Constable in J&K Armed Police in the year 1984. After completion of the probation period, his services were confirmed. In the year 1989, the petitioner was working as Personal Security Officer (PSO) to Sh SS Bijral, and was attached in Head Quarter Company. The said Company was deputed to Maisuma, Srinagar to control the militancy, There was an encounter with the militants. When this encounter was going on, the militants hurled a grenade on the Jawans of the said Company in which the petitioner along with PSO Parshotam Sharma was injured. Petitioner who was seriously injured was shifted to SMGS Hospital, Srinagar, and thereafter he was shifted to Bones and Joints Hospital, Barzulla, where the petitioner was operated upon thrice. The petitioner was then shifted to Police Hospital, Srinagar. Petitioner was thereafter allowed home rest for two months, which period was treated as on duty.
(2.) PETITIONER after his recovery joined back his Battalion at Srinagar. In the month of October 89, petitioner came to Jammu on 10+2 days casual leave to get himself medically examined. The condition of the petitioner deteriorated and he sent an telegram to respondent No.4 for extension of leave. When the petitioner availing his leave, his father became seriously ill. Petitioner again requested respondent No.4 for extension of leave on the ground that being the eldest member, in the family he has to take care of his ailing father. The father of the petitioner was diagnosed as a case of brain tumour and was referred to PGI Chandigarh. Petitioner accompanied his father for his treatment at Chandigarh. Ultimately, the father of the petitioner expired in the year 1993. The further case of the petitioner is that after the death of his father, the petitioner made a request to the Commandant of the Battalion to allow him to join his duties but the said request was not acceded to on the ground that the name of the petitioner has been struck of from the rolls of the Battalion. Petitioner requested the concerned authority for a copy of the discharge but the same was not supplied to him. It is further stated that the petitioner in the year 1995 suffered a snake bite and remained hospitalized for number of days. It is stated that in the year 1997, the elder son of the petitioner suffered from snake bite and thereafter his younger son aged 7 years fell into a well in the village and expired. It is stated that the petitioner obtained a copy of dismissal order in the year 1997 but due to the aforementioned circumstances was not able to approach this Honble court. It is this dismissal order which has been challenged in the present writ petition on the ground that the same is illegal, arbitrary because before passing of order impugned, no show cause notice was served upon the petitioner nor any enquiry was held by respondents. It is stated that the absence from duty was not intentional and the petitioner had -also requested the concerned authority for extension of his leave.
(3.) ON notice, respondents have admitted that during ailment, of the petitioner, he had applied for leave which was granted in his favour vide order No. 1320 of 1988 dt. 12.12.1988, Order No. 583/Hqr/9th dt. 18.3.1989 and Order No. OB/PKS/5675 -80 dt. 3.6.1989. The case of respondents is that the petitioner remained on unauthorized absence and number of notices were served upon him for resuming his duties but he did not turn up. It is stated that the continuous absence on the part of the petitioner was indicative of the fact that he was not willing to serve the department. As the retention of the petitioner was likely to create disciplinary problem, therefore, the petitioners name was struck of from the roll of Battalion w.e.f. the date he absented himself from duties i.e. 13.10.89 and this was done under Article 128 of the J&K Civil Service Regulations and Police Manual. It is stated that the petitioner has challenged the order after a period of 12 years on false and frivolous grounds which are after thought. I have learned counsel for the parties and perused the record. It is the admitted case that the petitioner sustained injuries in an encounter with the militant. After that he was given medical treatment. It is also admitted that petitioner proceeded on 10+2 days casual leave in the month of Oct 89 and thereafter did not report for duties. The case of respondents is that petitioner was served with a notice vide Office Order No. 569 -A -IX dt. 21.12.89 and No. Estt/II/88/809 -IX dt. 29.1.1990. A copy of notice dt. 21.12.89 has been placed on the record file produced by respondent. The copy of notice, however, does not bear the signatures of the petitioner in token of its receipt. Petitioners name has been struck of from the roll of the Battalion without serving a notice upon the petitioner and without holding any enquiry. Petitioner left the Battalion by applying the leave and after completion of leave period, he did not join his duties, therefore, his case is overstaying of leave. Once an employee overstays, then issuance of a show cause notice is must so that he may explain the circumstances under which he has overstayed. In case, after issuance of notice, the concerned employee fails to join the duty, then an enquiry is to be conducted as per rules. In AIR 1966 SC. 492, the Apex Court has held as under: - "The removal of a Government servant from service for overstaying his leave is illegal even though it is provided by the service Regulation that any individual who absents himself without, permission after the end of his leave would be considered to have sacrificed his appointment and may be reinstated only with the sanction of the competent authority. ..... A discharge from service of an incumbent by way of punishment amounts to removal from service, and the constitutional protection of Art.311 cannot be taken away from him by contending that under the service Regulations the incumbent himself gives up the employment and all that the Government does is not to allow the person to be reinstated.... " It was further held as under - "A removal is removal and if it is punishment for overstaying ones leave an opportunity must be given to the person against whom such an order is proposed, no matter how the Regulation describes it... ";

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