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Employers need not search for absconding employees: J&K High Court

Employers need not search for absconding employees: J&K High Court

The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has affirmed the termination of a CRPF constable, stating that employers are not required to search worldwide for an employee who has gone missing. The court’s decision was in response to a constable’s challenge against his dismissal.

Mohammad Shahbaz Mir, who joined the CRPF in 1997, took leave from 3 August to 30 August, 2011, but did not return. Mir cited psychological issues and marital problems as the reasons for overstaying his leave. He argued that his dismissal on 3 December, 2012, violated principles of natural justice and the CRPF Rules. Additionally, he claimed that he did not understand the Hindi language used in the dismissal order and other communications.

In response, the respondents stated that Mir exceeded his leave without permission and disregarded multiple requests to return to duty. The Court noted that Mir deserted the force again after being apprehended and handed over to his battalion in September, 2012.

Although Mir’s reasons for absence included domestic issues such as divorce and custody disputes, the Court found no urgent problems at the time of his desertion. The court observed that Mir had no justification for his prolonged absence and that the CRPF had followed the required procedures, sending multiple communications to his residential address.

Justice Dhar, presiding over the case, stated that the principles of natural justice were not applicable here because the facts were clear. Conducting a fresh inquiry would be unnecessary. The Court also dismissed Mir’s claim of not understanding Hindi, noting that he had previously used the language for official purposes, such as leave applications and appointment orders. The Court also clarified that it is sufficient for an employer to send communications to the employee’s residential address.