In an extraordinary step, the army has yielded to the demand of a major general accused of sexual misconduct and transferred the judge appointed to head his court martial. Major General AK Lal is the senior-most army officer to face a court martial after allegedly engaging in sexual misconduct with a lady officer of the rank of captain.
Lal, a former General Officer Commanding of Leh-based 3 Infantry Division, had petitioned the Army headquarters for a new Judge Advocate in his case saying he was not confident of getting justice from the one already appointed.
Senior army officials told HT there was no provisions under military law for an accused to challenge the appointment of the Judge Advocate or seek a change. Lal's trial, earlier scheduled for May, has been pushed back to July with the army entertaining his petition.
Lal had sought the transfer of Brigadier PS Rathore, Deputy Judge Advocate General (DJAG) of the Lucknow-based Central Command, first appointed to hear his case. However, senior officials confirmed that Brigadier AV Taskar, DJAG of the Pune-based Southern Command, has replaced Rathore.
A court of inquiry conducted earlier found sufficient evidence to try Lal for sexual misconduct. A lady captain of the Corps of Signals had filed a complaint last September alleging that Lal had misbehaved with her during a meditation session.