Armed Forces Tribunal (Lucknow Bench): The Division Bench of Umesh Chandra Srivastava, J., and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, Member (A) slammed the government for failing to call back the apprehension roll of the applicant even after accepting her resignation. The applicant had been declared a deserter for not resuming her duty even though her resignation application was accepted by the authorities concerned.
Brief facts of the case were that after serving ten days in the Army Medical Corps, the applicant submitted an application for resignation on the ground that she was detailed for MOBC course at Lucknow. As per the applicant she was assured by the DGAFMS during selection interview that she would be allowed to live with her parents for some time in Delhi. The applicant also wrote a letter for cancellation of Part-II Order with respect to commissioning in AMC.
According to the applicant, her resignation was accepted vide letter dated 02-09-2008 and the same was conveyed to her. Applicant got married on 01-07-2017 and while proceeding to Zurich for honeymoon trip she was stopped at Airport by immigration department on the pretext of look out notice (apprehension roll) sent by Base Hospital, Delhi Cantt in the year 2008, which according to applicant gave her mental pain and agony. The applicant contended that her detention at the Delhi Airport in 2017 caused irreparable damage to her and her parents‟ reputation, in eyes of her husband and her in-laws, therefore, she pleaded for revocation of all actions against her issued after submission of her resignation from Army service and acceptance by the authorities concerned.
On the other hand, the respondents submitted that the applicant was initially granted 11 days leave which was extended to 60 days leave and the applicant ought to have rejoined from leave on 13-07-2008 which she failed to do. Thereafter, apprehension roll was issued and same being in force, her resignation was accepted vide order dated 02-09-2008. The respondent contended that since the applicant did not report in spite of being duly informed by the unit on multiple occasions, her documentation with regard to final acceptance of resignation could not be completed and the letter dated 02-09-2008 conveying provisional acceptance of her resignation became infructuous and void.
The Tribunal noticed that though vide order dated 02-09-2008 her resignation was approved but presumably the apprehension roll was left uncancelled due to oversight on the part of the respondents which resulted in her detention on 04-07-2017 at Airport when she was to leave for Zurich with her husband, but later on she was released from custody. On scrutiny, the Bench came to know that vide order dated 20-07-2017 applicant was allowed to leave India subject to her filing of an undertaking that she will return within a period of two months.
Noticing that although the apprehension roll was issued on 26-07-2008 and she visited and met the Commandant, Base Hospital, Delhi Cantt along with her father on 22-09-2008, nearly two months after issue of the apprehension roll, no steps were taken by the Hospital authorities to apprehend the applicant, the Bench opined that the such actions indicated that they had no intention of apprehending the applicant, presumably as her resignation had already been accepted on 02-09-2008. The Bench stated,
“Prima facie it appears to be a case of non application of mind by the respondents while dealing with the present matter as after acceptance of her resignation in the month of September, 2008, respondents ought to have cancelled their apprehension roll which caused great distress and hardship to applicant throughout and particularly while proceeding abroad on honeymoon in the year 2017.”
Consequently, the Bench opined that since the respondents had accepted her resignation in September, 2008 after following due process and thereafter, no proceedings were required to be held in applicant’s case, being not subject to Army Act. In view of the above, respondents were directed to cancel all proceedings against the applicant carried out after 02-09-2008. Impugned orders with respect to applicant were hereby quashed. [Parul Jain v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine AFT 7429, decided on 02-12-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
For the Applicant: SS Pandey, Advocate and SS Rajawat, Advocate.
For Union of India: Sunil Sharma, Central Govt. Standing Counsel