Army decides to relieve Major to wed Lankan lover

The decision to accept the resignation of Major Vikas Kumar was taken by the Army on November 22.

Bangalore: Proving the adage that true love will surmount all odds, the Indian Army has decided to relieve a Major in the Corps of Signals to enable him marry his Sri Lankan girlfriend subject to the condition that he refunds the entire cost of his training in IMA and furnish his marriage certificate.

The decision to accept the resignation of Major Vikas Kumar was taken by the Army on November 22, a day after the Karnataka High Court rapped it for repeatedly contesting the case despite two different benches of the court ruling in favour of granting discharge to him to marry the 29-year-old Sri Lankan national he was in love with.

The Army conveyed to the Court its decision of conditional acceptance of the Major`s resignation during the hearing of the contempt plea filed by the Major before a Division Bench headed by Justice DV Shylendra Kumar yesterday.

Speaking to a news agency outside the court premises, senior counsel for the Army, Kalyan Basavaraj, said the Army had filed an affidavit before the High court that it had agreed to discharge the Major provided he pays the "whole cost of his training and also his certificate of marriage to Arnila Ranamali Gunaratne".

"We have also issued him a letter stating that his relieving letter is being processed subject to the above condition", Basavaraj said, adding, the Army would be clarifying the cost of the training to the court next week when the case is coming up for hearing.

However, Counsel for the Major, Aditya Sondhi, said: "We are disputing the cost as it is exaggerated".

The case will be heard next week.

On November 21, the High Court dismissed the writ appeal filed by the Indian Army, challenging the single judge order directing it to consider the application of the officer seeking to relieve him so that he can marry a Sri Lankan national.

A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen dismissed the appeal imposing a cost of Rs 75,000 on the Army. The court in its order observed that the Major could not have been refused permission by the Army so that he could marry a Sri Lankan national as the single judge had already directed the Army to release him from service.

The Major, a resident of Koramangala in the city, wanted to marry Arnila Rangamali Gunaratne, an M Phil student in English literature who also resided in the same area.

Trouble started for the Major and his girlfriend when he sought permission from his higher-ups to marry her. The application was rejected by the Army on September 19, 2011, stating that the application was not correct.

When the Major moved the High Court, Justice BS Patil, on December 07, 2011, admitted the petition and directed the Army to consider his application and relieve him.

When the Army did not respond to the direction, the Major filed another plea which came up before Justice HN Nagamohan Das, who on June 18, 2012, quashed the Army order rejecting his application, allowed the petition and the respondents were given liberty to take appropriate action as per Army rules.

However, the Army appealed against the order which came up before the Division Bench, headed by the Chief Justice.

During the hearing, counsel for Union Government, Aniyan Joseph, submitted that the Major`s application was not considered by his superiors as the girl had not given her consent to take up Indian citizenship and that the Major might end up being relieved without terminal benefits.