UNION OF INDIA Vs. CHANDRA BHUSHAN YADAV
LAWS(SC)-2020-1-40
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on January 17,2020

UNION OF INDIA Appellant
VERSUS
Chandra Bhushan Yadav Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

AJMER SINGH VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
UNION OF INDIA VS. EX FIT LT G S BAJWA [REFERRED TO]



Cited Judgements :-

SGT V.K. SHARMA VS. UNION OF INDIA [LAWS(KAR)-2020-6-499] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

L.NAGESWARA RAO,J. - (1.)The District Court Martial imposed a punishment of dismissal of the Respondent from service and reduction of the ranks apart from sentencing him to rigorous imprisonment for three months. The Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench, Lucknow (for short "the Tribunal") set aside the order of the District Court Martial aggrieved by which the Union of India has filed this Appeal. The Respondent was enrolled in the Indian Air Force in the trade of Equipment Assistant on 18.01.1988. He was posted to 402 Air Force Station, Kanpur in August, 1997. The Respondent was assigned duty in Diesel and Petrol Store on 02.02.2000. Information was received from a civilian on 03.05.2000 that 7 barrels of diesel were unloaded in civil area at Pappu Ka Plot at about 1400 hrs. on 02.05.2000. The informant informed 4 Provost & Security (Unit), Air Force, Kanpur, that he saw two airmen in uniform, out of which one was of dark complexion. The informant further stated that a similar incident of unloading of barrels was observed by him on 20.04.2000 also as well.
(2.)A detailed report was sent by 4 Provost and Security (Unit), Air Force, Kanpur by a letter dated 10.05.2000 in which it was indicated that the Respondent-herein and Corporal G.S. Mani, Equipment Assistant were involved in taking out POL (Petrol, Oil & Lubricants) belonging to Air Force Station, Kanpur. Air-Officer-Commanding, 402 Air Force Station, Kanpur directed a Court of Inquiry to be convened. By its report dated 31.05.2000, the Court of Inquiry found that DHPP quantity of 5800 Ltrs. and petrol of 5000 Ltrs. was misappropriated by the Respondent and the then Corporal G.S. Mani, Equipment Assistant. According to the report, manipulation was done by raising gate passes for a quantity more than which was authorised by issuance of vouchers and obtaining the signature of Senior Logistic Officer on such gate passes. The said gate passes were used to take out kerosene, diesel and petrol. A second set of vouchers were prepared for the purpose of issuing gate passes when items were taken out of guard room, which were later destroyed after safe passage from the guard room. The misappropriated items were disposed in the civil area. On the basis of the said finding, the Court of Inquiry recommended following actions :
(a) Initiate strict disciplinary action against Corporal C.B. Yadav (Respondent) and others involved in the said action;

(b) To make good the loss incurred due to such action and to recover the cost of quantity DHPP 400 Ltrs. and quantity 200 Ltrs. of petrol (Rs.68,520/-).

(3.)An Additional Court of Inquiry was ordered to further investigate into certain other aspects not covered by the Court of Inquiry. By the Report dated 12.07.2007, the Additional Court of Inquiry found that the Respondent had prepared the gate passes in advance on some occasions. The record of the Court of Inquiry and Additional Court of Inquiry proceedings were forwarded to the Head Quarters, Maintenance Command on 26.07.2000. The Court of Inquiry proceedings were approved by the AOC-in-C, Maintenance Command, pursuant to which disciplinary action was initiated against the Respondent and others. A charge sheet was framed containing 14 charges and a hearing of charge under Rule 24 of the Air Force Rules, 1969 (for short "the Rules") was conducted before the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief. The AOC-in-C ordered evidence to be recorded in writing. After considering the summary of evidence, the AOC-in-C found that there was insufficient evidence to sustain Charges 1 to 5 and therefore, those charges were dropped. A charge sheet containing fresh charges was issued.
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