Judgement of the day: UNION OF INDIA & ORS. V. LT. COL. S. S. BEDI

FACTS:


The Appellant was a Medical Specialist posted at the Base Hospital in Lucknow on 03.04.1984. On the 15th of May 1986 two women made a complaint against the Appellant about his misbehaviour during a routine check-up which was inappropriate . He had allegedly touched their private parts. The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief directed the recording of summary evidence, on the basis of which, the convening authority directed a trial of the Appellant by the General Court Martial. On 29th of November 1986 a charge sheet was filed against the Appellant for committing a civil offence by using criminal force on two women with intent to outrage their modesty, Appellant was held guilty by the General Court Martial on 09.12.1986 and was sentenced to be cashiered from service on 14.01.1987 after which he appealed in the tribunal.


JUDGEMENT:


The Hon’ble court held that the punishments awardable by the Court Martial under Section 71 include cashiering in case of officers and forfeiture of service for the purpose of pension apart from the other penalties. But the accused aggrieved by the judgement of the court martial filled an appeal in the tribunal.


The tribunals converted the sentence of cashiering into a fine of Rs.50,000/- by holding that the Appellant has a blemish less record of service. The Tribunal also highlighted the delay in the complaint made against the Appellant and said that the punishment of cashiering from service is disproportionate. Hence, the punishment was converted from cashiering to imposition of fine of Rs.50,000.


This was appealed further by the accused in the supreme court which further went on went on for seven years. Finally it was decided that the punishment of penalty given and reason cited is not acceptable thereby, restoring the punishment of penalty of cashiering and stated that “the reprehensible conduct of the Appellant abusing a position of trust being a Doctor which is not condonable.” However, the court also directed to consider the entire record of service of the Appellant and his advanced age while taking a decision to initiate proceedings under the Army Pension Regulations.

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