The Court Martial of a paramilitary trooper of the Border Security Force (BSF) of India was set aside by a superior competent authority stating that the proceedings were ‘devoid of merit’, however later, the same person was tried by a fresh Court Martial inter alia on the pretext that the (first) Court Martial had been set aside on technical grounds and hence a de novo trial was permissible. The person was awarded dismissal from service.
While setting aside the entire proceedings and reinstating the trooper with all consequential benefits, the Delhi High Court has gone into the nuts and bolts of whether de novo trials are permissible in such situations or not. Briefly put, the High Court has ruled that since the order of the competent authority setting aside the first Court Martial stated that it was being passed on 'merits', the excuse of technical irregularity did not carry any weight.
The decision of the High Court can be accessed here.