SC Criticises Army for Arresting Serving Officer Maj Anand Kumar

‘Why you are using such power to arrest your own officer of a rank of Major?’

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Supreme Court of India. (Photo: Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Monday criticised the Army for arresting its own serving officer, who was court-martialled for his act of reporting alleged pilferage and misuse of a huge quantity of unaccounted/unauthorised ammunitions and explosives of dangerous nature in 1998.

The apex court questioned the arrest of the then Major Anand Kumar, who was convicted and sentenced to three years’ jail term by General Court Martial (GCM) in 2004.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, which admitted his appeal against the 2011 orders of the Armed Forces Tribunal rejecting challenge to court-martial proceedings, said:

How you(army) have arrested the officer. He was a serving Major. Without a warrant you jumped the wall and entered his house.

Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha submitted that the officer had gone on leave and had been regularly avoiding warrants.

The Bench while noting the submission of ex-army officer’s counsel Sree Prakash Sinha, said that he has completed his sentence and has been terminated from service.

If he is not receiving the warrant or communication, will you go and direct his arrest. Why you are using such power to arrest your own officer of a rank of Major. 
Supreme Court Bench
Chief Justice of India, TS Thakur. (Photo: IANS)
Chief Justice of India, TS Thakur. (Photo: IANS)

Sinha, appearing for the ex-Major, alleged that in 2000 he was beaten up by Brigadier H C Chawla, then Commanding Officer (CO), who did not like his conduct in reporting the ammunition/explosives issue.

Kumar submitted that he was also taken into close arrest by the then CO without assigning him an account of charge and was not produced before competent authority for investigation of charge as required by Army Act, Rules and Regulations.

Instead a Court of Inquiry was assembled for enquiring into alleged assault made by Kumar on the then CO, he said.

He contended that he remained in close custody of the respondents for 90 days and was released on 7 November 2000 without prejudice to re-arrest.

Petition

Sinha, in the petition said that the officer, who was approved psychiatric care since year 2001, was made subject matter of GCM and prior to that he was attached to other unit in utter violation of the orders of the High Court as well as the undertaking given before the apex court.

The ex-Major had alleged that in 2000 he was beaten up by Brigadier H C Chawla, then Commanding Officer (CO), who did not like his conduct in reporting the ammunition/explosives issue.

The officer was arrested from army cantonment in Namkum near Ranchi in Jharkhand and taken blindfolded to Banbasa in Uttarakhand.

Besides, Ministry of Defence, the then Major General Bhaskar Jyoti, the then COs Brigadier HC Chawla and Colonel Ashok Prabhakar, have been made respondents in the petition which also contended that the general court martial was conducted in utter violation of the procedure prescribed and the sentence awarded to him was disproportionate to the offence alleged.

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