Read Judgement: Sunil Kumar & Ors vs. Indo-Tibetan Border Police through its Director General

LE Staff

New Delhi, August 9, 2021: The Delhi High Court has ruled that matters related to deployment of personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at a foreign mission, de-induction and re-induction therefrom, as well as their repatriation and retention are purely administrative matters and decisions are taken based on the exigencies of the situation. 

The Division Bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai and Justice Amit Bansal observed that in exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, Courts cannot dictate where and how personnel of the respondent, ITBP, should be posted. 

This would amount to taking over the running of the respondent, ITBP, as well as the Government of India, which the Courts are ill equipped to do, added the Bench. 

The observations came pursuant to a petition filed by 30 ITBP personnel seeking redeployment at the Indian Mission, Afghanistan in place of the officials who have served maximum period of service. 

“The petitioners as personnel of armed force like ITBP can be posted anywhere based on the requirement of the force. They have no vested right to be deployed in Afghanistan. Rather it amazes us that in view of the dangerous situation prevailing in Afghanistan currently, the petitioners are keen to be deployed there,” the Bench said.

The petitioners belonging to the respondent, Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), who were posted at the Consulate General of India (CGI), Kandahar, Afghanistan were repatriated back to India as a precautionary measure by the Indian government by temporarily stopping its operations at the CBI in Kandahar on account of the disturbance and unrest there. 

The petitioners made a representation against the said act of their de-induction from Kandahar and accordingly, the Third Secretary (Security), CGI, Kandahar, requested the ITBP that in place of the petitioners, personnel with longer tenure be sent back to India. 

Such request was, however, denied and the petitioners were repatriated to India. 

The counsel for the petitioners argued that they have been de-inducted from their posting at Afghanistan without taking into consideration their term of posting, and that the petitioners apprehend that they will be redeployed at other locations of the respondent ITBP and, therefore, miss out on the opportunity of being re-inducted for being deployed at Afghanistan.

“The situation in Afghanistan is fluid, and urgent decisions have to be taken with regard to operation of Indian Missions there along with ensuring the safety and security of the personnel posted in such Missions. Considering the prevailing situation in Kandahar, the Government of India took a decision to shut down the operations at the CGI, Kandahar and therefore, had to repatriate the ITBP personnel posted there, including the petitioners, back to India. The petitioners cannot make out a grievance of the same,” opined the Bench. 

The petitioners also cannot raise any grievance that the ITBP personnel posted at Embassy of India, Kabul who have spent a longer term in Afghanistan than the petitioners, should have been repatriated to India in place of the petitioners, as unlike the CGI at Kandahar, the Embassy of India at Kabul continues to function, added the Bench. 

The High Court said that petitioners as personnel of an armed force like ITBP can be posted anywhere based on the requirement of the force and they have no vested right to be deployed in Afghanistan. 

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