Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Supreme Court of India sets aside the conviction of a Lieutenant General

The Supreme Court of India has set aside the conviction of a Lt Gen of the Indian Army and also the subsequent order in his appeal passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal wherein he had only been granted partial relief.

Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash was dismissed on the ground of financial impropriety by way of a General Court Martial in what came to be known as the ‘Sukna Land Scam’.

Although the Armed Forces Tribunal, on his appeal, had granted him his pension benefits from the date of pronouncement of the order, and had also set aside two grounds of his conviction, it had still retained one ground and had upheld the conviction. The tribunal had repelled the argument put forth by the General that the composition of the Court Martial was faulty since the Members of the GCM (except the Presiding Officer) were of an inferior rank and no attempt had been made by the Army to convene it with officers of his rank.

The Supreme Court has however found favour with the challenge made to the AFT decision and has held that since the GCM itself was faulty and that he had been acquitted on the more severe and grave charges, the appeal was bound to succeed. The Supreme Court has set aside the conviction and has granted him all consequential benefits pertaining to his rank.

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