The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the central government's decision to terminate the services of seven army personnel, who were allegedly caught spying for Pakistan in Samba in 1978.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice BS Chauhan, set aside the 2010 Delhi high court judgment quashing the dismissal orders against Major SP Sharma, Captain Arun Sharma, Captain JS Yadav, Captain VK Dewan, Major Kulwant Singh, Major Ajwani and Major RK Midha. The bench held that the President had rightly terminated their services as their continuance would be a threat to the national security. The high court had observed that there was no sufficient ground to charge them as spies.
The Supreme Court reprimanded the high court for taking an erroneous view "despite the fact that there was sufficient material to prove the guilt of the accused officers for spying at the behest of Pakistan".
"The safety and security of the country is above all. When the President terminated the services of army officers, whose service tenure is at the pleasure of the President and such termination is based on material on record, then this court in exercise of powers of judicial review should be slow in interfering with the President exercising constitutional power," the bench said.
The Supreme Court observed that the records clearly established that the inquiry against these officers was initiated by the army headquarters, director of military intelligence and the file went from chief of the army staff to the ministry of defence with strong recommendations to terminate their services in the interest of security of the state.
"On the basis of the material available, it cannot be held that the impugned order of termination was malafide or arbitrary as alleged by the officers," the SC added.