No unqualified right to leave armed forces: SC

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that a person who has been enrolled as a member of the Air Force does not have an unqualified right to depart from service at his or her will during the term of engagement. 

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta rejected a plea by Amit Kumar Roy, who claimed to have a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution to choose his place of employment.

Roy, having been enrolled as Airman since January 12, 2004, successfully cleared the examination to the post of Probationary Officer in the Bank of India and got an appointment letter on July 28, 2011, without taking prior permission from the authorities.

If his plea was allowed, it would "seriously impinge upon manning levels and operational preparedness of the armed forces", the bench said.

Citing Air Force Orders, the court said, "A person enrolled cannot assert a general right to act in breach or defiance of those orders."

However, the court said, eight years have passed since Roy left his services and joined the Bank of India, no useful purpose would be served to order his reinduction into the Indian Air Force. 

The top court also directed Roy to deposit Rs 3 lakhs with the Centre within two months. It ordered the authorities to issue the NOC and a discharge certificate to Roy within three months.

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