HC stays court martial of Army jawan for being tried for same offence twice

Issuing notices to the ministry of defence and the Commanding Officer of 153 Medium Regiment, the court has directed them to submit replies by August 31.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Updated: May 25, 2016 9:10 pm

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday stayed proceedings of issuing a fresh chargesheet against an Army Naik for using criminal force against his superior.

The court noted that Army Naik Munish Kumar (technical assistant), of 153 Medium Regiment, has been issued fresh chargesheet for which he had already been tried earlier under the military law.

Directions came from the court on a petition moved by the Naik at Ambala Cantt.

Petitioner’s counsel Arun Singla argued that earlier the petitioner was issued chargesheet on December 2, 2014, and the Summary Court Martial after finding him guilty “in most unjust manner” had awarded him the sentence “to be Reduced to the Ranks” on December 6, 2012. It was submitted that the Commanding Officer of 153 Medium Regiment has issued fresh chargesheet against the Naik on May 12 for the same offence again.

It was also submitted that the petitioner challenged the outcome of the Summary Court Martial before Chief of the Army Staff and after a long period he received reply dated January 25 that the Summary Court Martial proceedings dated December 6, 2014, have been set aside during the review and that a fresh trial is being conducted under HQ Western Command as the unit of the petitioner has been moved to a new location.

The counsel submitted that the petitioner faces the vice of double jeopardy which is explicitly prohibited under law by virtue of Article 20(2) of the Constitution of India and Section 121 of the Army Act, 1950, since the petitioner has already faced the trial by a Court Martial for exactly the same charges.

Issuing notices to the ministry of defence and the Commanding Officer of 153 Medium Regiment, the court has directed them to submit replies by August 31.

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