The Armed Forces Tribunal today set aside a court martial order sacking a jawan on the charge of trying to outrage the modesty of the wife of a fellow soldier.
In his plea, Naik Dinesh Chand Sharma had challenged his summary court martial (SCM) 17 years ago at Deolali in Maharashtra in which he was dismissed from service and sent to jail for one year.
He was accused of entering the house of another jawan in his unit and using criminal force against his wife with the intent to "outrage her modesty".
Sharma contended that he had not signed the 'plea of guilty' as he was required to on the SCM form and was not even asked whether he was guilty or not.
The dismissed jawan said his plea of guilt was also signed by his Commanding Officer, after which he himself made the certificate of compliance of Army Rules and signed it.
Setting aside the GCM order, the Tribunal Bench, headed by Justice S S Kulshreshtha and Lt Gen S S Dhillon, said "the legal position remains that the plea of guilt is necessarily required to be signed to give authenticity to it, which was not done in this case."
"The sentence of dismissal is converted to discharge and the petitioner shall be entitled to pension and other benefits as due," it added.