The Chandigarh bench of Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) on Thursday issued a notice to the army authorities on the dismissal order and punishment given to a clerk, Dinesh Kumar Shukla, for disobeying orders.
Of 10 army clerks from 56 Armoured Regiment who refused to do menial jobs, four were sentenced to four-months of rigorous imprisonment and dismissed, while others still face trial.
They were charged under Section 39 (d) of the Army Act for without sufficient cause failing to appear for central arms-cleaning parade at 7am on October 25, 2012; and under Sections 66 (instigating others to remain absent from the arms-cleaning parade), 39-a (absent without leave), and 63 (act prejudicial to good order and military discipline) of the same law.
They have alleged that because they were mistreated on October 25, 2012, they all then left for Regimental Centre at Ahmednagar in Maharashtra; but the unit informed the regimental centre that the soldiers were being retained in unauthorised manner. After that they were sent again to Patiala.
The clerks facing disciplinary proceedings are Jagbandhu Das, Ramdas Aware, Dinesh Kumar Shukla, Asabe Ballal, Pankaj Kumar Thakur, Sandeep Kumar, Suresh Kumar Bhuyan, Ramnendra Singh, Santosh Rathod, and Rahul Sharma.
Shukla's counsel Rajeev Anand submitted that upon the return of clerks to the unit from Ahmednagar, the proceedings were initiated with the sole intent of protecting superior authorities and punish the members of the clerical staff. "The army Authorities have dealt with the case of the petitioner (Shukla) in total abuse of the process and procedures laid down in the Army Act and the rules," says the petition, adding that the procedure was given a go by, and prejudice brought into each step.