The Delhi high court has taken serious view of tendency among security personnel to feign sickness or exaggerate minor illness to avoid working in difficult areas including the country's border.
The court has supported the decision of paramilitary forces to take strictest disciplinary action against such personnel.
"We must highlight that all cases of unauthorised absence or desertion being brought before us pertained to when battalions of CRPF or BSF are transferred to hard areas and it surprises us that when stationed at peace places, no officer of CRPF or BSF complains of sickness", said the court.
The bench headed by justice Pradeep Nandrajog said this dismissing a petition by a CRPF head constable Digambar Singh challenging compulsory retirement for "unauthorised absence" of one year and two months after he was posted to Tripura by exaggerating an eye ailment.
"Not a single case of desertion, or unauthorised absence, out of over 350 decided by us till today pertains to a jawan posted in a peace station", the court said.
CRPF told the court that it could not afford to be lenient on such personnel as "if it is overlooked, it would breed insubordination because jawans would not obey commands of the superiors to report back".
Pointing out that this would also encourage deviant behaviour in other personnel, CRPF said personnel are sent on leave by rotation and where one jawan overstays leave, he does so at the cost to some others.
Digambar, while posted in Delhi in 1995, had an eye ailment. He took the long leave on the ground that he needed treatment at Aiims after he was transferred to Tripura.
"Petitioner did not have any certificate that he was unfit for duties except for a period of 3 weeks, while hospitalised at a CRPF hospital, where he was in OPD. This shows he was in his house", said the court.
"A first class eye treatment may not be available at Tripura but his request for transfer to Delhi or Chandigarh is a surprise. If at all he required periodic visits to Aiims, the alternative of sanctioning medical leave for short durations would also have been considered as an alternative", the bench said.
Rejecting Digambar's contention that the punishment given was "harsh", the bench said original penalty of removal from service had been reduced to compulsory retirement with benefits of pension and gratuity which meant that the he has been granted due recognition to receive pensionary benefits.