Tribunal quashes court martial in case against signalman

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - 13:44

New Delhi: The Armed Forces Tribunal has
quashed the orders of a former Army chief and the dismissal of
a soldier, who was tried twice by a Summary Court Martial
(SCM) for an offence.

Signalman Sunil Kumar was dismissed by an SCM first
in March 2006 for allegedly assaulting a senior officer and
was sent to jail for four months in civil jail in Ambala.

After he had served a major part of his sentence,
the superior authorities set aside the SCM, saying the
soldier`s commanding officer had no authority to try him under
the Arms Act and Kumar was taken back in service, his counsel
Colonel S R Kalkal said.

After a few months, the Army again filed a fresh
chargesheet against Kumar on the same charges and he was again
tried by an SCM, which again awarded four months imprisonment
and dismissed him from service.

After the order, Kumar filed a statutory complaint
against his dismissal with the then Army Chief, who rejected
it.

Pointing out that the trial of the soldier twice by
the SCM was a case of "double jeopardy", the Tribunal Bench
headed by Justice Manak Mohta said, "We are of the view that
the first trial was set aside and the applicant during his
retrial was charged on the same incident under a fresh charge.

"We, therefore, direct that the second SCM and the
order of dismissal along with the orders of Chief of Army
staff rejecting statutory complaint, be quashed and the
applicant be reinstated in service with all consequential
benefit since the sentence of earlier SCM was set aside," it
further observed.

PTI




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