Sacked for not eating food, Army jawan reinstated by Tribunal
Fifteen years ago, an Army jawan was dismissed for disobeying superior`s order to eat food. His dismissal has now been set aside by the Armed Forces Tribunal.
New Delhi: Fifteen years ago, an Army jawan
was dismissed for disobeying superior`s order to eat food. His
dismissal has now been set aside by the Armed Forces Tribunal.
Signalman Ram Kumar Maurya was summarily court
martialled by his officiating Commanding officer for
"disobeying a lawful command given by his superior officer" as
he refused to have food after being punished for another
charge of indiscipline against him.
On the basis of Maurya`s petition, the Tribunal Bench
headed by Justice S S Kulshreshtha, said "disproportionality"
of the sentence was "apparent" and "The Summary Court Martial
proceedings, including sentence, are set aside".
It said Maurya shall be deemed to be in service till
the date he reaches pensionable service.
While serving at 1 Strike Corps in Mathura, Maurya was
awarded a 28-day simple sentence (of confinement) by his
Commanding officer on disciplinary grounds on April 6, 1995.
In protest, Maurya refused to eat food despite
counselling by his Company Commander.
As he continued to be defiant, officers in the unit
commenced disciplinary proceedings in form of a Summary Court
Martial against him on charges of "disobeying a lawful command
given by his superior officer" and he was dismissed from
Alleging a large number of "legal infirmities" in his
court martial, Maurya had contended that "he could not have
been ordered to consume his food. Whether he needed to eat or
not was his personal decision and the Army could not order him
to eat food."
He had termed the charges levelled against him by his
superiors as "incorrect, illegal and unsustainable" and said
the punishment meted out to him was "grossly disproportionate"
to the offence committed by him.
Maurya had also raised questions over initiating
disciplinary actions against him on grounds that he was placed
under medical category and was diagnosed as a `psychiatric
patient` and could not be court martialled.
The case was transferred from the Delhi High Court to
the Tribunal after it was launched in August 2009.