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Reach out to jawans in distress: HC

delhi Updated: Mar 26, 2011 23:09 IST
Harish V Nair
Harish V Nair
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

To curb the rising incidents of suicides, fragging and intemperate behaviour by the personnel of the armed forces, the Delhi High Court has urged compassionate hearing to all distressed defence personnel to prevent it.

In the first-of-its-kind order, the court slammed a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) commandant for driving a lady officer Meena Kumari to attempt suicide. She was under stress following canards spread against her but the commandant refused to give her a hearing despite repeated requests.

“We hold superior officers completely responsible for what has happened…. the so-called attempted suicide was actually a result of indifference... every suicide asks questions of those immediately connected to the event,” ruled Justice Pradeep Nandrajog quashing orders of an inquiry that found her guilty of ‘attempt to suicide’ and brought down her pay scale.

Rekha Palli, the lawyer who defended Kumari, says: “A commandant is like a father figure of any unit. If he does not hear out distressed juniors, who will?. We need not be surprised that act of aggression among defence personnel is on the rise.”

Posted at Bangaluru, her hostel-in-charge allowed her husband to stay with her against the rules. When the Commandant learnt about it, she told the truth and thereby antagonized the warden who according to her “became vindictive”. Kumari told the court the warden began spreading a canard that she indulged in excessive smoking and drank heavily.

Under immense stress, she consumed excess sleeping pills and was hospitalised. The court held that it cannot be a case of attempted suicide but of consuming excessive medicine. Judges said it was a case where the lady officer was virtually left with no choice as tormentors by way of systematic campaign drove her to such a situation. “It has to be held that her action could be reasonably foreseen,” the court said.

Court order

The court slammed a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) commandant for driving a lady officer Meena Kumari to attempt suicide

"We hold superior officers completely responsible for what has happened…. the so-called attempted suicide was actually a result of indifference... every suicide asks questions of those immediately connected to the event," ruled Justice Pradeep Nandrajog.