No 'sahayaks' for Army officers: Parliament panel



New Delhi: Rejecting Defence Ministry's argument that the practice of providing 'sahayaks' to Army officers must continue, a Parliamentary panel on Wednesday said the Army must abolish employing jawans as orderlies.

The panel also expressed "anguish" over the "disrespect" shown to it by the Army by misquoting its report on the issue.

The Committee, in one of its reports in 2010, had asked the Army to take a leaf out of the Navy and the Air Force and abolish the "demeaning and humiliating" practice of employing jawans as 'sahayaks' to the officers. Sahayaks were earlier known as orderly/batman, a legacy of the British era.

Thousands of trained soldiers in the Army are provided as assistants to officers and Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs), and the Defence Ministry had argued before the panel that 'sahayaks' help officers in communications and other tasks during operations.

"We are not convinced with the view of the Ministry and feel that the practice of sahayaks is not present in the Navy and Air Force and this practice should be abolished in Army also," the Satpal Maharaj-led Committee said in its report tabled today.

The panel said that its recommendations in the report on 'Stress Management in Armed Forces' were misquoted by Army's AG Branch in its circular which stated that abolition of practice of employing sahayaks would not be in organisational interest.

"This was not even commented upon as such in our report. Not only that the Defence Ministry too didn't notice the misreporting of the recommendations made by the Committee," it said.

Seeking an explanation from Defence Ministry, the panel said, "We place on record our anguish over the disrespect to one of our important recommendation."

PTI