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In a recent judgment, the Delhi High Court dismissed the petition filed by a Navik in the Indian Coast Guard(ICG), seeking relief from the summary trial and the punishment imposed upon him. The court reaffirmed the disciplinary actions taken by the Coast Guard Authority against him stating the importance of discipline in maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of the armed forces.
The judgment was pronounced by Hon’ble Justice V. Kameshwar Rao and Hon’ble Justice Saurabh Banerjee on February 8, 2024, where Krishna Dixit(petitioner) alleged that he was falsely fabricated by the respondents after he went on Earned Leave for around 25 days. Upon his return, a summary trial was conducted against him where he was awarded 90 days of Close Custody along with other penalties for Absence Without Leave and for stealing Imprest Accounts Register (IAR). His petition, filed under Section 119 of the ICG Act before the Director General was also rejected.

The Learned counsel for the petitioner argued that he was absent during the alleged theft, as he was on his leave at that time. Therefore, the charge of stealing the IAR is baseless and the entry in the IAR  also supports the petitioner’s claim. The Record of Evidence was conducted unfairly. The counsel alleged that his client had been falsely accused and prayed the court to issue the writ of mandamus to overturn the summary trial and revoke the punishments imposed upon him. A prayer to direct the respondents to pay back the money deducted from the petitioners’ account was also made. Counsel took the assistance of the case of Union of India vs R. Anand 2011 SCC OnLine Mad 945 and the case of State of Punjab vs Gurdial Singh 1980 AIR 319.
However, the other side contended that the petitioner had left the ship a second time without permission while it was under operational sailing orders, which shows his lack of discipline. Also, he intentionally stole the IAR. So, the disciplinary actions were justified and a fair trial process was undergone. Although the petition filed by him before the Director General was indefensible,  it was nevertheless considered by the authority. But, finding no merit in the same, it was rejected.

The court held that there was no substantial evidence to support the petitioner’s claim about him being on the leave permitted by the higher authority. Therefore, his act of leaving the ship was illegal and in contravention of the service norms. His petition was also fairly entertained according to lawful procedure, despite it being legally invalid and time-barred. According to the court, the authority did not have any malafide intention to punish the petitioner or fabricate a false case against him. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the court found the cases upon which the learned counsel for petitioners relied as inappropriate.

The judgment reiterated the authority’s actions of punishing the petitioner’s misconduct. This ruling revolves around the concept of accountability of the defence personnel and importance of the fair procedure during the trials.



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