The respondent in the case was serving as the Deputy Commandant of Assam Rifles and was served with a charge-sheet under Sections 63, 45, 57(a) for misbehaviour and false statements, for which he was found guilty by the Court Martial. In respect of the same it was the fact that Respondent was asked to check on a certain post and “OK” the status of the same. He however did not check in on the post and recklessly “OK’ the same. Hence, the charges as seen above were framed against him. Upon filing a writ to the High Court on the same, the Court found that the Court Martial was right in its judgment.
It was however held that having regard to the nature and degree of the offences established dismissal from service was an extreme and violative of the provisions of Section 72 of the Army Act, 1950. The order of dismissal was set aside and the matter was sent back to the General Court Martial, for awarding any lesser punishment than dismissal from service. It was directed that the Respondent would not receive any salary and allowances for the period when he was out of service. The appellant and the respondent filed for appeals in this manner.
Whether the action of the Court Martial is extreme with regard to the charges and there must be an alteration to the same?
Claims of the Appellant: The Appellant contended that the Respondent did not only, not obey the command from the Headquarter but he also falsified records in order to make out a case that he had already gone to two of the forward posts. These are very serious offences. These are offences for which the General Court Martial is justified in providing that the officer be terminated as it promotes such behaviour otherwise. The General Court Martial took a lenient view by merely dismissing him from service.
The Respondent submitted that during the same time as the occurrence of the said fact at hand, there was another operation “Ran Vijay” active which needed all the units to be on High Alert. It was contended that the respondent had already visited 2 of the forward posts, few days before the new order. In respect of the same, they submitted that other troops were also already present in the area and the commanders of these troops also did not visit the area. Therefore, the charges of diary entry and payment of certain charges cannot be sufficient enough for termination and punishment otherwise.
The Court looked into the previous judgments on the same matter and decided that the perusal as to the charges was not conducted in the appropriate manner and therefore complete understanding of the charges and the facts as to the said charges needs to be made. The Court made note that the other troops received permission to stay back from the Head quarters while the respondent was ordered to go to the Area. The respondent was also found to have enough time to visit the area and appropriately make the intimation to the Headquarters regarding the same. Both the Courts below were found to have erred in coming to the conclusion that the sentence awarded was too harsh considering the nature and degree of the offence established. If a Commanding Officer breaches orders received from the Head Quarters how can discipline be maintained in the Army. The writ petition of the respondent was dismissed accordingly.