In a first incident of its kind, the Indian Army put a lady officer-Major Dimple Singla, who is facing General Court Martial (GCM), at Zirakpur( SAS Nagar), under arrest on Monday.
An arrest warrant was issued against her on December 29, 2009. The police had gone to her home in Chandigarh also, but she could not be traced. Today, when the GCM re-assembled, she was arrested.
Earlier, the GCM proceedings were adjourned sine die on December 28, 2009, after her hospitalisation in SAS Nagar hospital for seizure disorder. But she left the hospital without being discharged, and then an arrest warrant was issued against her to assure her presence, as the GCM could not run in her absence.
Major Singla, who is a Judge Advocate General branch officer in the Indian Army, has been facing trial for allegedly taking Rs 10,000 for favouring an accused during his GCM (Section 69 of the Army Act for committing civil offence); she was Judge Advocate General (JAG) in that case.
She is also accused for violation of good order and discipline -- Section 63 of the Army Act, when she suggested a defence lawyer to accused Havildar Chandran, who was facing a GCM. In the same case, she was also accused of improperly visiting Capt Kamud Maini, who was a defence officer in Chandran’s case, asking him not to divulge any information to the press regarding the GCM.
Maj Singla had written to Chief of Army Staff on December 29, 2009, for passing “instructions to lower authorities not to use army terror/pressure on to these medical institutes”( where she would seek treatment) for her ailment.
On January 8 of this year, she pleaded before General Officer Commanding (convening authority of her GCM), HQ 2 Corps, for cancelling her arrest order. On January 17 and January 23, she again wrote to convening authority reiterating that she would attend the court martial proceedings, whenever the date was fixed.
The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal had on January 27 directed her to appear before the Court Martial for the early disposal of the case.
Though it did not put a stay on her arrest.
On January 28, she again wrote to convening authority for not arresting her as she was a mother of two daughters, “who require my ( Maj Singla) presence for their safety, security and moral support”.
It is important to mention here that one of the members of the board, Maj Rita Taneja, is due to retire on March 8. If the trial does not complete by this date, then GCM have to be reconvened again.
The GCM, for trying Maj Singla, had already been delayed by two years due to litigations in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Apex Court and the Armed Forces Tribunal.