O.A. No. 260 of 2016. Case: Ran Singh Dudee Vs Union of India and Ors.. Armed Forces Tribunal

Case NumberO.A. No. 260 of 2016
CounselFor Appellant: Party-in-Person and For Respondents: Appoli Shrivastava, Advocate, C.G.S.C. assisted by OIC Legal Cell Alifa Akbar
JudgesD.P. Singh, J. (Member (J)) and Air Marshal Anil Chopra, Member (Ad.)
IssueArmed Forces Tribunal Act 2007 - Section 14; Army Act, 1950 - Sections 122, 164, 165, 52, 52(f); Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) - Sections 2 (9), 122, 468, 469; Constitution Of India - Article 21
Judgement DateJanuary 17, 2017
CourtArmed Forces Tribunal


D.P. Singh, J. (Member (J)), (Regional Bench, Lucknow)

1. Present Application has been preferred before this Tribunal under section 14 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act (In short the 'Act'), being aggrieved by the Applicant's non-empanelment in the rank of Brigadier, detailment on career course of NDC, recreation of dossier, grant of consequential reliefs after the annulment of punishment awarded by the Court Martial Proceedings followed by direction issued by Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench Kolkata in T.A No. 84 of 2011 decided on 16.01.2014 (Annexure A-2).

2. We have heard Applicant who has appeared in person and argued the case himself and also Ms Appoli Srivastava, counsel for the respondents ably assisted by Maj Alifa Akbar, OIC Legal Cell, MS Branch.

3. The facts in nut-shell are that the Applicant was enrolled in the Indian Army as Sowar on 19.09.1981 and after undergoing training, he was posted in 17 Horse (The Poona Horse of the Armoured Corps). Thereafter, he toiled hard and romped home in the examination conducted through Union Public Service Commission in 1988 and got commissioned as an officer and was posted as a Second Lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps of the Army. In his first posting with 17 Mahar, he was deployed in Kargil, and he served in active line of control. On account of his excellent performance, the Applicant was awarded "COAS Commendation Card" in the first year of Commissioned Service. He was also declared outstanding officer of the year on 10.05.1990. The General Officer Commanding of 36 Infantry Division had issued a letter of appreciation dated 01.09 2002 commending that the Applicant had shown exceptional initiative in discharge of duties. According to the Applicant, he was recommended for Sena Medal in Jan 2002 for his exceptional performance and devotion for duties and was recommended for out of turn promotion for the rank of Lt Colonel. Further according to the Applicant, the problems began knocking at his door from the day, he made complaint against his superior officers citing financial irregularities committed by his the then Commanding officer, Maj P.K. Duggal, 2nd in Command, Capt P.K. Singh, Subedar Major S.A. Khan and others. Sensing threat to his life, the Applicant reported the matter to the Brigade Commander vide letter dated 29.06.1990. Offended by the complaint of the Applicant against certain superior officers, the Applicant was immured in armed confinement and made to languish there followed by Court of Inquiry which found no recriminating material against the Applicant. A First Information Report was also lodged against the Applicant which later-on was found to be stage-managed and based on unfounded grounds. A second court of inquiry was also instituted which in its report dated 07.08.1990 turned the tide on the Applicant himself who was the complainant in the case. In the Court of Inquiry, officers against whom, the Applicant had submitted complaint were found guilty of the charges reported by the Applicant and ultimately after Court Martial, Maj P.K. Duggal was cashiered from service studded with one year R.I. The other officers were also suitably punished.

4. It is averred that the Court of Inquiry held against the Applicant was in contravention of Army Rule 180 and was held ex-parte inasmuch in the court of inquiry, the charges were framed without giving opportunity of hearing and in violation of Army Rule 22, the Commanding officer proceeded in the matter and ordered summary of evidence. The summary of evidence was ordered to be recorded for a second time after failure to collect any incriminating evidence in the summary of evidence recorded at the very inception. Despite there being no evidence even after the second summary of evidence, a show cause notice was issued on 14.12.1991 proposing administrative action. After receipt of Applicant's reply, displeasure (non-recordable) was awarded on 30.12.1991 (Annexure P-12). As part of victimization, the Applicant was declared AWOL w.e.f 27.06.1991 for three days even though the Applicant claims that he was present. A copy of the signal dated 30.06.1991 as at Annexure P-14. The attendance register was tampered with and a copy of the same is placed at Annexure P-15. Against this, the applicant approached the Army Headquarters, New Delhi and then it was found that declaring absent was based on unfounded fact and fabrication of record. It is stated that the officers' envy and revenge was because of the fact that on the complaint of the Applicant, the superior officers were punished and cashiered from service (supra). On one pretext or the other the applicant was continued to be persecuted by certain officers being aggrieved by the Applicant's fair working and sticking to truth.

5. In the year 1997, the Applicant was posted to 19 Field Ammunition Depot Banar, Jodhpur and detailed as the member of the tender Opening Board of officers for Pokran field firing ranges where he found that in pursuance of bid, only one person had sent his tender, hence Applicant objected against accepting single tender which was in contravention of normal procedure of minimum three. The objection was over-ruled and single tender was accepted actuated by ulterior motives. On account of his objection, the Applicant was removed from the Board on specious allegations. Hence he lodged a complaint to the Superior authorities with regard to malpractices prevailing in auction proceedings. The Applicant also invited attention of superior authorities with regard to sale of scraps to Mafia. After detailed examination, Army Headquarters annulled the proceedings of auction being not in conformity with the rules and principles of fairness.

6. In June 2000, the Applicant was posted to 36 Infantry Div. Maj Subodh Shukla of 36 Infantry Div on coming to know that his promotion to the next rank had been withheld, as he while being member of the Board constituted to accept the bids, indulged in corruption. The corrupt practices of Maj Subodh Shukla were reported by the Applicant to the Commanding officer. Being aggrieved, Maj Subodh Shukla in retaliation forged documents of revenue court ascribing motive to the Applicant in the matter of allotment of land which was otherwise lawful, reported against the misconduct of the Applicant in which the Applicant was made to suffer by facing series of inquiries and despite being found innocent every time, he was visited with the order of punishment which included the order of displeasure. However, the Divisional Commissioner after inquiry, found it bonafide mistake of revenue court. On representation, the punishment of displeasure awarded to the Applicant and ACR entries of the year 1993, 1994 and 1995 were set aside and Applicant's grading was treated as 'C' without restriction.

7. It is also submitted by the Applicant that his brother Sepoy Hawa Singh had made the supreme sacrifice in the 1971 Indo Pak War while fighting in the battle field of Pallanwala and as cherished by his mother, he joined the Indian Army to serve the Country. Being member of Patriotic family, the Applicant could not relish the corrupt practices in vogue in the Army and always tried to inform the superior officers for appropriate action. Such act of the Applicant bounced back on him with victimisation, harassment and persecution.

8. The Applicant was tried by General Court Martial on four charges, the first charge was under section 52 of the Army Act which was to the effect that he at Saugor between Nov 2000 and May 2002 progressed a case for procurement of 8.64 hectares of Govt. land to the Defence Department for the purpose of immortalisation of forgotten war Hero Late Sepoy Hawa Singh of 9 JAT with intent to defraud. The second charge was collateral charge of the first one to the effect that while performing duties of Officiating Commanding officer, he improperly wrote a Demi Official letter on 09.11.2000 to the Collector Saugor for the allotment of the aforesaid land. The third charge was that he addressed Demi Official letter to Collector Saugor for the allotment of the said land while the fourth charge also relates to the same to the effect that he failed to submit report on the acquisition of the said land in contravention of the Army order 3/S/98.

9. One strange fact came on record that letter sent by the Applicant was through proper channel and at no stage, he seems to have over-acted in violation of due procedure prescribed for the purpose. Whereas the Applicant pleaded "not guilty" to all the charges, he was convicted on Ist, and Third charges and sentenced to be cashiered and suffer R.I. for three years. GOC-in-C Southern Command confirmed the finding on Ist and 4th Charges and sentence was confirmed by General Officer Commanding (GOC-in-C) Southern Command vide order dated 21.10.2005. The GOC-in-C confirmed the sentence of 'cashiered' and reduced the R I to 2 years and 6 months. The Applicant against the said order, preferred a statutory complaint under section 165 of the Army Act. On the statutory complaint, the entire record was examined by the Government of India and it was found that that first Court of Inquiry was ordered on 07.07.2001 and trial commenced on 19.10.2004. The Government of India, Ministry of Defence, after considering the Applicant representation against conviction through General Court Martial, allowed the statutory complaint and set aside the General Court Martial finding recorded thereon alongwith confirmation of sentence. The order dated 20.11.2013 passed by the Government of India has been annexed as Annexure A-1 to the O.A. The operative portion of the order passed by the Government of India is reproduced below for ready reference.

8. Now, therefore, the Central Government, under the powers conferred under section 165 of the Army Act, 1950 do hereby annul the proceedings of the General Court Martial findings and sentence dated 16th May, 2005 and confirmation order dated...

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