Soldier who complained of food feels ‘threatened’

Counsel for Vinay Kumar, a soldier posted in Assam, said the latter was assigned duty to smash and boil potatoes. But, the counsel said, Kumar found out that most of the potatoes were “rotten and full of insects”.

Written by Manish Raj | New Delhi | Published:July 12, 2017 4:32 am

If THE food in an Army unit is shared by all staff, including officers, it was “highly improbable” that officers or personnel would allow bad quality of food, the Delhi High Court said on Tuesday.

Justice Vinod Goel was hearing a plea filed by a soldier, who claimed threats to his life from the Army as he had complained about the bad quality of food. Highlighting that the soldier should have brought up the matter in front of his seniors for spot verification, the judge said the respondents (Army and the Centre) cannot “feel annoyed/offended” with the soldier’s complaint as they had themselves floated a web portal to receive complaints from the members of the force.

The judge, however, directed the Army to provide safety to the soldier.

Counsel for Vinay Kumar, a soldier posted in Assam, said the latter was assigned duty to smash and boil potatoes. But, the counsel said, Kumar found out that most of the potatoes were “rotten and full of insects”. He then lodged a complaint with pictures of the rotten potatoes on the Indian Army’s web portal.

“Since then, the respondents (centre and Army) have been treating him as a dreaded criminal, and he has the apprehension that he could be killed/dismissed from services for ringing the bell against corruption,” his counsel said. Central Government Standing Counsel (CGSC) Ajay Digpaul submitted a counter saying that Kumar had filed the plea with “ulterior and mala fide motive” as he had earlier been awarded a 28-day Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) for absence without leave on five occasions. The five aforementioned occasion, the CGSC said, include “overstay of leave” for 72 days during which he was declared a deserter.

The counter also said that the soldier had “failed to avail the efficacious remedy available to him through multiple redressal mechanisms within the organisation”.

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