Advocating strict enforcement of discipline in the armed forces, the Delhi High Court has said that dismissal from service should be the sole punishment for personnel involved in offences amounting to moral turpitude.
The ruling from a bench of justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice Manmohan Singh also upheld the dismissals of two personnel involved in such serious indiscipline in separate cases.
In the first case, a BSF jawan Sumed Singh had tried to molest a woman by breaking into her house adjacent to his barrack in a drunken state. In the other, a cook at a CISF camp PK Sharma was caught repeatedly approaching a lady and offering her money for arranging a young girl for 'immoral purposes'.
"The penalty is not disproportionate to the gravity of the offence. We would note that a force personnel lurking into the house of a lady, grappling with her and outraging her modesty is a misdemeanor which would certainly attract the penalty where the force personnel is made to shed his uniform..." said the court.
On March 13, 1998, a BSF battalion had been deployed at Ganpathyar, Srinagar. A lady residing in a flat on the third floor of a building near the barracks raised a cry that a jawan had intruded into her flat. It was also found that her flat's power box had also been tampered with.
In a test identification parade conducted by the unit commandant, the woman was able to identify Singh. He was later found guilty after an internal enquiry.
In the second case, Sharma who was attached to a CISF unit in Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh, was chargesheeted for repeatedly approaching a fruit-seller and offering her Rs. 500 for arranging a young girl for 'immoral purposes'.
Distraught, the woman divulged it to her husband Sujanpal who filed the complaint with the CISF. Sharma apologised to Sujanpal by touching his feet but he went ahead with the complaint.
"In India, a pardon is sought by touching the feet of the person wronged. That the petitioner had to seek pardon by touching the feet of the woman's husband meant that the offence had an element of moral turpitude," said the court.