The Supreme Court has upheld the Centre's decision to terminate the services of seven army personnel who were caught spying for Pakistan in 1978 in the Samba spying case.
A three-judge bench headed by justice BS Chauhan set aside the 2010 Delhi high court judgment quashing the dismissal orders against Maj SP Sharma, Capt Arun Sharma, Capt JS Yadav, Capt VK Dewan, Maj Kulwant Singh, Maj Ajwani and Maj RK Midha, holding that the President had rightly terminated their services as their continuance would be a threat to the national security.
The HC had given a finding that there was not sufficient material to declare them spies.
The apex court chided the HC for taking an erroneous view despite the fact that there was sufficient material to prove the guilt of the accused officers for spying on behalf of Pakistan.
"The safety and security of the nation is above all. When the President in exercise of its constitutional power terminates the services of the army officers, whose tenure of services are at the pleasure of the President and such termination is based on materials on record, then this court in exercise of powers of judicial review should be slow in interfering with such pleasure of President exercising constitutional power," the SC said in its March 4 verdict.
The SC noted that the records clearly established that the inquiry against these officers were initiated by the army headquarters, director of military intelligence, and the file travelled from chief of the army staff to ministry of defence with the strong recommendation 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 apex court added.