|Lt Gen (R) Harwant Singh|
Former Deputy Chief of Staff
Now a commanding officer who alone holds SCM, is a father figure in a unit and it is only in a very rare case, where inaction in initiating SCM against the offender can lead to spread of ill discipline in the unit, that he takes recourse to holding SCM. If he is to record in writing the reasons for holding an SCM, the reasons thus recorded cannot be adequately appreciated by a civil court, detached, in time and circumstances, as it would be, from the then prevailing conditions in the unit, and therefore, cannot objectively access the award of a SCM. A commanding officer is entrusted with the safety and lives of thousand men and yet called upon to justify an SCM of an erring soldier!It seems the author would do away with the speaking order requirement and continue regular resort to summary courts-martial (which the Supreme Court of India recently ruled were to be used only exceptionally) on the notion that they are fast and the commanding officer is a father figure for the unit. He says India shed its colonial military justice heritage by enacting the Army Act 1950.
Someone might want to talk with Gen. Singh about the evolution around the world in military justice over the last several decades, and suggest to him that India might do well to catch up by such means as establishing a proper trial judiciary.