Tribunal refuses to interfere in Army dismissal of 9 personnel

The armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has refused to interfere in a case that saw the Army initiate disciplinary action against nine of its personnel before discharging them from service. The AFT Bench, comprised of Justice Rajesh Chandra and Lt Gen N S Brar (retd), while disposing of petitions filed by the nine affected men, held that it found no grounds to interfere in the case, under Army rule 13 (3).

The nine petitioners had objected to the Army's dismissal orders against them, but the Tribunal dismissed their petitions on Friday. They had been dismissed from service for allegedly earning a large number of "red ink entries" for indiscipline in their service records.

The Army had initiated disciplinary action against them after it deemed that the nine had habitually 'violated' disciplinary norms before discharging them from service.

The nine petitioners, however, had contended before the Tribunal that they were never served with showcause notices and alleged that if there was any such notice, it was a result of their signatures being taken on blank papers and their replies prepared thereafter.

On the other hand, the Army's counsel, Sandeep Bansal, said the men were habitual offenders. He brought to the Tribunal's notice that one of the petitioners, Shingara Singh, had committed offences and had been punished on five five occasions.

The counsel contended that Shingara Singh was issued a show cause notice by the Commander 29 artillery brigade and in reply to the notice the petitioner had admitted to his offences and requested to be allowed to continue in service. His reply, however, was found to be unsatisfactory and he was dismissed from service in 2009.

The Army counsel also claimed that the petitioners had earned four or more red ink entries and had to be relieved from service in the larger interest of maintaining discipline in the unit.

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