The case of a BSF jawan who was sacked for firing his weapon at the other side of international Line of Control (LOC) without any threat and then hiding for two days in a nearby tree before turning himself in has prompted the Delhi high court to direct the DG BSF to evaluate whether it was caused by emotional stress or a psychological disorder.
The incident occurred on the intervening night of October 13 and 14, 2012. After he voluntarily surrendered, a summary security force court dismissed him from service.
Singh then moved the HC pleading that the punishment of dismissal awarded to him was disproportionate to the offence for which he was convicted. He cited refusal to sanction him leave to join his parents at pilgrim at Vaishno Devi as the reason behind his behaviour.
Terming his behaviour as “highly bizarre,” a bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani asked the BSF to consult a psychologist on the mental stability of Sarjeet Singh.
Singh’s conduct “shows that he was under extreme stress, bordering on paranoia… If the opinion is that it was a psychological disorder, then perhaps that would be the end of the matter. If it was a case of stress, the DG BSF would consider levying some other penalty upon him,” the HC said.
However, the government said his conduct being a member of disciplined force cannot be appreciated or condoned.
In its verdict, the HC also said that young jawan trained at a huge cost to the public exchequer should not be not shown the exit door without ascertaining the possibility of reformation.
It said that Singh, who was a newly inducted in BSF — serving in one of the toughest terrain with no past history of indiscipline — “perhaps required a counselling or may be an evaluation of his emotional stability”.