Colonel faces action for sexually harassing woman captain
The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has denied relief to a colonel who has been facing court of inquiry (CoI) proceedings for sexually harassing a woman captain. The colonel was last posted at Chandimandir cantonment.punjab Updated: Sep 26, 2016 10:35 IST
The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has denied relief to a colonel who has been facing court of inquiry (CoI) proceedings for sexually harassing a woman captain. The colonel was last posted at Chandimandir cantonment.
The incident took place at Alwar (Rajasthan) where Colonel Anil Kumar KV was posted as Commanding Officer of 12 Field Sub Group and the woman captain was adjutant. She filed a complaint with Commander 3 Signal Group, Pune, Southern Command, on August 13, 2015. In the complaint, she narrated nine incidents, ranging from the colonel asking her intimate details, shouting at her, passing sexually explicit comments, commenting on her dress and forcing her to accompany his family on a trip to Jaipur, which she found offending.
After that colonel was posted out to Headquarters Western Command, Signals Regiment, as the Commanding Officer.
The woman officer then filed a complaint before the Chief of Army Staff General Dalbir Singh on September 26, 2015, seeking justice. She told him how senior officers got drafted an apology letter to which she did not agree and was told to go on leave for close to a month. She asked the army chief had she done anything wrong for reporting “heinous” acts of Colonel Anil Kumar and why he was rewarded with a posting. “Who will help me regain my proud moment which I felt this year (2015) while walking on Rajpath on Republic Day which got shattered after getting such a justice?” she questioned. “I have 45 incidents where Col Anil has faltered in his conduct. I have six messages with me to reveal his intentions. I have got 28 recordings and 8 out of them contain oblivious intentions,” she said.
After her letter, a court of inquiry was constituted on October 21, 2015 under Maj Gen Mukti Sharma to inquire into allegations and reasons for delay in action. The court of inquiry submitted to army commander, Southern Command, indicted Colonel Anil Kumar.
After that he was ordered to be attached at Brigade of Guards Regimental Centre at Kamptee (Maharashtra) for disciplinary proceedings.
The colonel then approached AFT for quashing his transfer and raised illegality in convening of the court of inquiry. He obtained stay orders on further proceedings against him on July 19 this year. Central government counsel Gurpreet Singh contended, “The court of inquiry is a fact-finding committee. It has collected all the material which shows involvement of petitioner (Colonel Anil Kumar). The petitioner was given full opportunity to cross examine the witnesses and defend himself. But he wanted to examine some witnesses which were not relevant to the case, so permission was denied.”
Justice Surinder Singh Thakur in his judgment dismissed the contentions of Colonel Anil Kumar regarding the convening of the court of inquiry but allowed him to examine two witnesses in his defence, though he wanted to examine four more. “But at the same time, we would like to say that court of inquiry has also to check that the incumbent who is the subject of inquiry does not use these provisions on the pretext of safeguards as a tool to prolong or delay the conclusions by multiplying useless and irrelevant witnesses and documents, by supplying a list in piecemeal,” said the judgment.
First Published: Sep 26, 2016 10:30 IST