Sunday, January 22, 2017

Slow justice but a positive outcome

A cashiered Indian Army junior officer has been rehabilitated by the Lucknow Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal 26 years after he was tried by a summary general court-martial. He was charged after having implicated senior officers in the loss of gold discovered in a raid. In addition to reinstating the officer and ordering him promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, the AFT also heavily fined the government. Here's the Hindustan Times account. "Justice [D.P.] Singh and Air Marshal [Anil] Chopra directed the chief of the army staff to look into the matter and ensure that appropriate action is taken against those who were instrumental in persecuting [S.S.] Chauhan and complete the inquiry in four months." The petitioner sued in the Allahabad High Court in 1993, and the case was transferred to the AFT in 2012.

The AFT's 296-page January 19, 2017 decision in Chauhan v. Union of India, T.A. No. 31 of 2012, can be found here. It describes the SGCM as a farce. Among many other noteworthy comments, the decision observes (at ¶ 336):
. . . In the present case in spite of all odds and events and efforts to suppress alleged recovery of 147 gold biscuits, we appreciate the zeal of Col K.S. Dalal, the then Commanding Officer 4 Rajputana Rifles and Capt Manveet Singh, Judge Advocate who seem to be torch bearers of leadership, quality and firmness to do their duty fairly and honestly. They are the real heroes of Indian Army because of whom reputation of Indian Army is appreciated all over the world, entitled for commendation.
Captain Singh, a qualified officer of the JAG Branch, was improperly released as 2d Lieut. Chauhan's defense counsel, and replaced by a non-lawyer artillery officer.

H/T to Wing Cdr (Ret) U C Jha for the links.

1 comment:

  1. The Armed Forces Tribunal Bench has not given any justification for the exemplary award of Rs 4.0 Crore (US $ 600,000 appx) as cost to the affected ex-officer. The Order that Rs 1.0 Crore to be deposited by the Ministry of Defence in the Army Central Welfare Fund has no relevance.
    Keeping in view the facts brought out in the case and the Order of the Tribunal, it is most likely the Government/ Ministry of Defence would go for an appeal in the Supreme Court.
    Wg Cdr (Retd) U C Jha


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