Setting aside a 25-year-old Court Martial order of an Army officer, the Armed Forces Tribunal in Kochi has directed the Union Government and the Army Chief to and to pay him within 6 months the arrears of his salary, allowances, and full pension due to him.
The tribunal has ordered the respondents-- the Union Government, Chief of Army staff, Commandant COD and the General Officer Commanding UP area to treat as if the petitioner, Captain Tony George, was on actual duty till the date on which he would have superannuated without any break of suspension and to treat him as a person who superannuated on the date on which he would retired in the normal course and pay full pension from the date of superannuation.
The arrears of salary, allowances of salary and pension after adjusting the amounts should be paid to the petitioner within 6 months, the Kochi bench of the tribunal held while allowing a petition by Captain Tony George of Central Ordinance Deport, Agra cantonment challenging his Court Martial, chargesheet under Rule 37 of the Army Rules and the conviction and penalty imposed on him by the court martial.
The division bench of the tribunal comprising Justice K Padmanabhan Nair and LT Gen Thomas Mathew also set aside the court martial findings and punishment against the petitioner.
'The facts and circumstances clearly shows that the Court Martial was held without any valid order or a report as provided under Army Rule 150 by the competent Military authority and that is the reason the respondents are finding it shy to fight out this case on merit', the tribunal held.
The tribunal held that the convening order to Court Martial the petitioner for giving false evidence was 'without jurisdiction and illegal'.
'We hold that there is violation of mandatory provisions contained in sect 109 of the Army Act and Rule 37 of the Army Rules and trial of the petitioner by court martial is vitiated'. The trial against the petitioner was without jurisdiction and finding of guilt and was not based on evidence, the bench observed.