Army General Court Martial recommends Major General's removal from post in two-year-old sexual harassment case
An Army General Court Martial (GCM) on Sunday recommended dismissal of a Major General from service in a two-year-old sexual harassment case.
New Delhi: In a big development, an Army General Court Martial (GCM) on Sunday recommended dismissal of a Major General from service in a two-year-old sexual harassment case. "The GCM headed by a Lieutenant General-rank officer gave its verdict at 3.30 am on in which the officer has been charged under section 354A of the IPC and Army Act 45 which is related to unbecoming conduct of officers in the force," sources told ANI.
"He had been charged under section 354 of IPC earlier but the court gave special findings and held him guilty under section 354A of IPC," they said. As per Army rules, the recommendation of the GCM would now be sent to higher authorities including the Chief of Army Staff for confirmation. The higher authority has the powers to even change the sentence. Advocate Anand Kumar, representing the Major General in the trial, told ANI that they will be appealing against the order as the "(GCM) court has not at all looked into the defence case. Evidence has not been appreciated properly and the decision has been passed in a haste."
The Major General was posted in the Northeast when the alleged incident took place in late 2016 and was attached to Chandimandir under Army's Western Command for the disciplinary proceedings. Sources said the officer has denied the charges against him levelled by the Captain-rank lady officer. In a plea filed before the before the Armed Forces Tribunal, the officer had claimed that he was a victim of factionalism within the Army which had allegedly arisen due to the appointment of the Army chief in that year. During the trial, the officer contended that there have been certain issues raised by him which have not been addressed by the authorities concerned. The officer also has a plea pending before the tribunal for providing him with the documents of the proceedings of the GCM and other related investigations in the matter. The officer had played a crucial role in one of the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army in the last few years.
In 2007, a Major General had to quit Army after a lady officer alleged that he had touched her inappropriately while teaching yoga to her.
Earlier, the court had upheld the 2009 'command exit promotion' policy of the Indian Army and had asked the Centre to create 141 additional vacancies to the rank of Colonel to promote officers of 'Combat Support' streams.
The court had directed the Centre in May 2013 to consider within four months the plea of the army porters, who have been working for 15 years, for regularising them on the basis of their service record.
The Bench had last year directed the defence ministry and the Air Force to reconsider the petitioner's case for promotion after deleting the review carried out by the Senior Reviewing Officer.