SC upholds MoD decision to weed out 4 habitual offenders from IAF

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New Delhi, Feb 10 (UNI) The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of Ministry of Defence to discharge four airmen from service under the policy of weeding out habitual offenders who create indiscipline in the Force and have adverse influence on younger airmen.

A Bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice P Sathasivam while allowing the appeal of Union Government against Rajasthan High Court judgement dated September 26, 2006 noted ''policy for discharge of habitual offenders was considered by this Court in A K Bakshi's case. After analysing the policy, it was observed that the whole idea underlying the policy was to weed out the indisciplined personnel from the Force. It was further observed that it was a discharge simplicitor and as such it cannot be held as termination of service by way of punishment for misconduct.

After due consideration of the reply, the recommendation was that the AOP may be pleased to approve the discharge of officials concerned as unsuitable for retention in service. Various officials considered the matter and the AOP accepted the recommendations for discharge. Thereafter, the discharge order was passed where it is categorically noted that the competent authority ie the AOP was pleased to accord the approval of discharge of the officials concerned from service.'' Respondents Rajesh Vyas and others had challenged their discharge on the ground that the impugned order was passed against the principle of natural justice as their reply to the show cause notice were not considered.

Habitual offenders policy was prepared by the government to weed out such unruly elements from the Force.

Habitual offenders are those who remain absent without leave, indulge in insubordination, use abusive language and are also involved in mess misbehaviour and some of them have got promotions to the rank of a senior non-commissioned officer and hence they present a very poor example for the younger airmen.

UNI AKS/SC AKJ KN1922

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