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Precedent set: No VRS and pensionary benefits for absconding officers

By IndianMandarins- 08 Apr 2019


The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has dismissed the case of a former senior IAS officer and brother of former Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, for voluntary retirement from service and pensionary benefits. Sanjeev Singh Ahluwalia is a 1980 batch UP cadre officer.


In 2005, he was on Central deputation, holding the post of Joint Secretary in the Department of Disinvestment. On his request, he was repatriated to his parent cadre before completion of the term of deputation in the Union Finance Ministry. Thereafter, he made efforts for deputation abroad.


Finally, he got what he wanted and got the permission to accept an assignment of the World Bank to serve in Sudan for a period of one year between September 18, 2005, and September 17, 2006.

However, after the completion of his one-year foreign posting, he didn't report back to his cadre state for duty.

Ahluwalia informed the tribunal that he had been making representations for extension of leave beyond September 17, 2006, but the same was not considered. He said that he could not join duty in India on account of factors beyond his control, as well as some family issues and that though he had submitted an application for voluntary retirement in accordance with law, this was not considered at all.

Nikhil Majithia, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, said: "The applicant did not pursue the matter pertaining to the voluntary retirement till he reached the age of superannuation. It is natural that the application for voluntary retirement loses relevance once the employee attains the age of superannuation."

Majithia said that left with no alternative, the state government had issued a notice under rule 7(2)(c) of the Leave Rules, and it was only a year later that the applicant responded with an explanation.

"The application for voluntary retirement can only be considered if he (Ahluwalia) was on duty in the cadre, and since the applicant was not even available in the country, let alone on the post, the application was not considered," the Centre's counsel said in court.

On April 19, 2010, Ahluwalia forwarded an application seeking voluntary retirement under the terms of the relevant All India Service Rules. The Centre rejected his application on the ground that he wasn't given any extension beyond a year of his foreign posting, and yet he did not report on duty after the expiry of his foreign assignment.

Dismissing Ahluwalia's petition, CAT Chairman Justice L. Narasimha Reddy said: "Being an administrator himself, the applicant was supposed to bring about discipline in the various establishments. However, he did not introspect whether his acts and omissions were leading to violation of any provision of law."

The tribunal noted that the unauthorized period of absence of the applicant was six years and one month.

The tribunal noted that the Uttar Pradesh government had issued a notice on October 10, 2011, seeking an explanation from the official as to why he shall not be deemed to have resigned from service. Ahluwalia submitted his explanation on May 17, 2012, and he attained the age of superannuation on October 31, 2012.

The tribunal observed that if a member of the service who is on valid leave for a period exceeding five years, can be deemed to have resigned, the applicant, who remained on unauthorized absent for six years, cannot keep himself on a higher pedestal.

"Hence, any contention raised in this behalf becomes redundant", the tribunal noted.

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