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Gujarat HC grants bail to dismissed Coast Guard sailor, registry accepts his bond

The petitioner, Inderpal Yadav, was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and dismissed from the service by the Coast Guard court earlier this year on charges of procuring illicit liquor and circulating a WhatsApp message saying “Too much of officer Dadagiri”.

Written by Satish Jha | Ahmedabad |
July 18, 2018 7:11:53 am
Gujarat HC grants bail to dismissed Coast Guard sailor, registry accepts his bond The Coast Guard submitted in the HC that Yadav was found guilty of all the charges and sentenced to one year in jail and dismissed from service by its court on February 1, 2018. (Representational Image)

The Gujarat High Court, after granting bail to a dismissed sailor (navik) of the Coast Guard, directed its registry office to “accept” his bail bond. Ordinarily, bail formalities are done in the trial court, which in this case is the Coast Guard court. However, in this case, the HC observed that the Coast Guard court doesn’t have permanent members and those who “make the entire body of the court shall be sailing in different directions”.

Justice Sonia Gokani on July 5 ordered the HC’s registry office that “considering the peculiar problem as the applicant was tried under the Indian Coast Guards Act, 1987, the registry of this Court will ACCEPT the solvent surety and the surety of the like amount and implement the order of this court dated 29.06.2018.”

The petitioner, Inderpal Yadav, was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and dismissed from the service by the Coast Guard court earlier this year on charges of procuring illicit liquor and circulating a WhatsApp message saying “Too much of officer Dadagiri”, thereby making “contemptuous remarks” against senior officers while posted as a sailor in Porbandar. After spending five months in a special jail there, he was released on bail. His lawyer J B Dastoor said, “Yadav was released on bail on Saturday.”

The HC will on Wednesday hear the matter on the question of whether there is an alternative remedy available to the petitioner to appeal in the HC against the Coast Guard court’s order instead of approaching the central government or Director General (Coast Guard) under Section 119 of the Coast Guard Act. The Act states, “Any person subject to this Act who considers himself aggrieved by a finding or sentence of any Coast Guard Court may present a petition to the Central Government or to the Director-General, and the Central Government or the Director-General, as the case may be, may pass such orders thereon as it or he may think fit.”

Yadav was caught by Local Crime Branch (LCB) officials of Porbandar police with 68 liquor bottles in his rented house in June 2016. The liquor was bought from his unit canteen allegedly by Yadav and his colleagues. However, his colleagues did not leave any such proof with Yadav.

A reply filed by Commandant R P Sharma in the HC states that several colleagues had gone to collect their monthly quota of liquor from the unit canteen, where at least five of them requested Yadav to keep their bottles for a few days as were taking private buses to get back to their station. The reply said that the liquor was stored at Yadav’s house at 1.30 pm and by 2.30 pm, the police knocked on his door and seized the liquor.

“On being asked by LCB officials to produce authority i.e pass or permit for the liquor bottles or bills to certify his claim, the petitioner was unable to show any liquor bill,” he said.

An FIR was lodged with Kamla Baug police station, and it was eventually transferred to the Coast Guard.

The other case against Yadav is of circulating a message on WhatsApp which, according to the Coast Guard, contained “official information” and had “contemptuous remarks” against senior officers. The genesis of this message was said to be an incident which Yadav was reported to have witnessed — a senior officer thrashing a subordinate.

The Coast Guard submitted in the HC that Yadav was found guilty of all the charges and sentenced to one year in jail and dismissed from service by its court on February 1, 2018. The Coast Guard court stated in its finding, “The court has considered the testimony of Comdt (Commandant K K Kanwar, Dy Comdt Anurag Shukla, Comdt Kinlay Bhutia and Comdt S Chandola and found them credible on the aspect that a WhatsApp message was in circulation on 31 Mar 2017 regarding alleged beating of R Tyagi by some officers…”

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