Air Force Policy: Ensuring Fair Treatment for Habitual Offenders

In a significant judgement by the Supreme Court of India, the case concerning the Air Force Policy and the rights of habitual offenders was thoroughly examined. The court focused on ensuring fair treatment and adherence to procedures for individuals like the respondent in question. Upholding the principles of natural justice and procedural correctness, the judgement sets a crucial precedent for cases involving similar issues. #AirForce #LegalRights #SupremeCourt


  • The Respondent was discharged from service under Rule 15 (2) (g) (ii) due to being found unsuitable for the Indian Air Force.
  • The Respondent admitted to acts of indiscipline due to bad company and requested a final chance to improve.
  • Despite a warning letter issued on 18.04.2012, the Respondent continued acts of indiscipline leading to a ‘Severe Reprimand’ on 13.06.2012.
  • The Tribunal initially approved the discharge but later set it aside, granting the Respondent consequential benefits and 25% back wages.
  • The Review Application filed by the Appellant against this decision was rejected by the Tribunal.
  • The Respondent argued for entitlement to a second warning before a discharge order could be passed as per the Policy on habitual offenders.
  • The Tribunal ultimately set aside the discharge order and directed the payment of back wages up to 25%.
  • The Respondent was given only one warning
  • The Tribunal’s opinion was based on this fact

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  • The Air Force Policy dated 16.12.1996 outlines the procedure for processing cases of habitual offenders in the Air Force.
  • The Policy mandates issuing a precautionary warning to habitual offenders, informing them of the consequences if further disciplinary actions are taken.
  • The policy requires a second warning before considering discharge from service for habitual offenders.
  • In this case, the second warning was not given to the individual, leading the Tribunal to believe that the order of discharge was flawed.
  • The Tribunal emphasized that habitual offenders must be given an opportunity to provide an explanation before being discharged.
  • Para 2 (b) of the Policy states that an Airman must be given a warning letter by their Commanding Officer if they are being considered for final orders and are given one more chance.
  • This warning letter serves as a second time warning for the Airman.
  • Para 2 (b) allows for a second warning only when final orders are being considered and the competent authority believes the Airman deserves another chance.
  • The second warning letter is required only in specific circumstances.
  • The Respondent was initially identified as a potential habitual offender before being classified as a habitual offender.
  • The Respondent was entitled to a warning in 2008, even though there was a delay in issuing the letter.

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  • Show cause notice issued to the Respondent was in accordance with the Habitual Offenders Policy.
  • Respondent did not mend himself despite the show cause notice.
  • In the explanation to the show cause notice, Respondent admitted to misconduct.
  • Respondent sought another opportunity to correct himself.
  • Warning letter was issued on 18.04.2012.
  • A second warning letter is not required when passing a final order without giving another chance.
  • No violation of the procedure prescribed by the Policy dated 16.12.1996.

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Case Number: C.A. No.-004780-004781 / 2018

Click here to read/download original judgement

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