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Himachal High Court allows study leave petition, denied over Service Rules

Shimla, Aug 8

Allowing a petition the Himachal High court allowed grant of study leave to a Ayurvedic Medical Officer pursuing MD/MS Ayurveda. The same was denied to the petitioner citing Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 1972.

In the case of CWPOA No. 799 of 2020, Geetika Dharmani, an Ayurvedic Medical Officer, challenged the denial of study leave by the Himachal Pradesh government during her pursuit of MD/MS Ayurveda. Wherein a division bench of Chief Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel in the decision on 27th July 2023, held that the petitioner’s five years of contractual service should be considered as regular service, making her eligible for study leave and salary during the period.

In the background of the matter the case pertained to a prospectus issued by the Himachal Pradesh University for admission to the Postgraduate Degree in Ayurveda (MD/MS) in Rajiv Gandhi Government Post Graduate Ayurvedic College, Paprola. The petitioner, an in-service candidate and qualified AMO, had applied for admission to the course through proper channels and obtained the highest rank in her category. However, the Principal of the Ayurvedic College placed a stipulation that she had to produce sponsorship/study leave certificate issued by the Himachal Pradesh Government, failing which, her admission would be cancelled.

In the matter argued by counsels Sanjeev Bhushan and Rakesh Chauhan, the petitioner moved the Himachal Pradesh Administrative Tribunal seeking a direction to the authorities to permit her to pursue the MD/MS Ayurveda course as an in-service candidate.

The respondents in the matter contended that as per Rule 50(5)(i) of the Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 1972, study leave would be granted to the Government Servant, who has satisfactorily completed period of probation and has rendered not less than five years’ regular continuous service, including the period of probation under the Government. Adding that in the current matter the petitioner was regularized on 12.08.2015, and so she would not be eligible for study leave in view of non-fulfilment of this condition.

They said that as per Clause 2.1 of the Post Graduate Prospectus 2016-17, Sub-clause (iii) of the above clause 2.1 states that “Regular Ayurvedic Medical officers must have rendered 5 years of service…”;

However, the tribunal provided an interim order favor of petitioner, allowing her to provisionally join the course. Subsequently, the case was transferred to the High Court on the abolition of the administrative tribunal.

In its judgment, the High Court relied on earlier precedents and held that the petitioner’s contractual service as an AMO for five years should be counted as regular service, making her eligible for study leave. The court further emphasized that the respondents had acted unlawfully in denying her study leave and directed them to comply with the order.

Legal experts feel that the decision is likely to have a significant impact on other in-service candidates seeking study leave and may set a precedent for similar cases in the future.



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