Armed Forces Tribunal

Armed Forces Tribunal: The Division Bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava and  Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, Member (A) denied to grant any relief to the person invalidated from service due to Alcohol Dependence Syndrome.

Brief facts of the case were that the applicant was enrolled in Army on 09-03-2002 as a Craftsman (CFN) and was invalided out from service on 28-03-2016 in low Medical Category due to ‘Alcohol Dependence Syndrome (Relapse) F-10.2’.

The applicant alleged that he was discharged from service under hatched conspiracy of unit which he was serving at the time of discharge by making false allegations in the back drop of his previous medical history i.e. Alcohol Dependence Syndrome, by sending him for frequent medical check-ups.

Evidently, the applicant stated drinking in 2007 and had been hospitalized for intoxication and his medical category was downgraded to S3 (T-24). His medical report suggested, ‘Due to lack of self control over his drinking habit, hence not attributable nor aggravated by military service’.

Alcohol Dependence Syndrome is primarily a disease where an individual cannot control his excessive drinking habits. This disease leads to being drunk while on duty and poor performance during discharge of official duties. Moreover, all efforts are made by military doctors and the organization to help a soldier who has become a victim of ‘Alcohol Dependence Syndrome’ and only when all efforts fail the soldier is invalided out on ground of ‘Alcohol Dependence Syndrome’.

The Bench took note of the fact that the applicant being habitual drinker refused to obey orders of superiors and was punished five times during the period 2010 to 2015, further, the said punishments were awarded in different units in which he served and not in the unit from where he was invalided out of service due to hatching of a conspiracy by the unit concerned, as alleged by the applicant.

Thus, keeping in view that applicant was awarded four punishments prior to induction in new unit; the Bench rejected the allegation that a conspiracy theory was hatched against the applicant. Moreover, the applicant had also earned five (red and black ink) entries and, therefore, could be categorized as a habitual offender.

In the light of the above, the Bench rejected the applicant’s contention that consuming alcohol in Army is not an offence as it is supplied in the organization, and held that there was no reason to interfere with the process and provide any relief to the applicant as, the Bench opined, the applicant was rightly invalided out of service being suffering from Alcohol Dependence Syndrome. [Ajit Kumar Singh v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine AFT 4896, decided on 03-09-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

Appearance by:

Counsel for the Applicant: Advocate Yashpal Singh, Advocate Sachindra P Singh

Counsel for Union of India: Advocate Pandey

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