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AFT upholds dismissal of two Majors for ‘illicit relationship’

In a judgment delivered on Wednesday, the AFT has upheld the punishment of dismissal from service awarded in January 2020 by a Summary General Court Martial (SGCM) to the MI Major who is a woman and the Infantry Major was is a male and was married at the time of the offence.

The bench added that the charges against the appellants, officers in uniform behaving in a manner unbecoming of her position and character, were found to be established and they were was found to have violated the requirement of Army regulations governing proper conduct. (File)

The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has upheld the court martial and dismissal from service of two Majors of Military Intelligence (MI) and Infantry, respectively, for their alleged ‘illicit affair’.

In a judgment delivered Wednesday, the AFT upheld the punishment of dismissal from service awarded in January 2020 by a Summary General Court Martial (SGCM) to the MI Major, a woman, and the Infantry Major, a male, and who was married at the time of the offence. The male officer had also been awarded three months rigorous imprisonment in addition to cashiering from service.

The two officers had been charged with offences under Section 45 of the Army Act, in that they were accused of having indulged in an illicit relationship thereby behaving in a manner unbecoming of their position and the character expected of them as officers of the Force.

The woman MI officer had also faced a second charge again under Section 45 of the Army Act, in that she, between November 16, 2016 and April 24, 2017, allowed herself to be videographed in a sexually explicit act with the said Major, a serving married officer, thereby behaving in a manner unbecoming of her position and the character expected of her.

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The woman officer also faced a third charge under Section 69 of the Army Act, in that she, on April 30, 2018 is alleged to have threatened another woman officer with injury to her reputation by sending messages through Short Message Service (SMS) to the officer from her mobile number.

“We see no error in the findings recorded by the SGCM. The analysis of evidence has been done properly and a reasonable finding has been recorded which does not suffer from any infirmity or illegality, in any manner, whatsoever. We see no reason to discard the findings of the SGCM or to interfere with them on the ground of it being perverse or arbitrarily recorded,” the AFT said in its order.

The bench added that the charges against the appellants, officers in uniform behaving in a manner unbecoming of her position and character, were found to be established and they were was found to have violated the requirement of Army regulations governing proper conduct.

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The bench notes that it was argued by the defence counsels of the two officers that the personal relationship of two officers in private cannot form an act of misconduct under Section 45 of the Army Act.

“This contention, in our considered view, cannot be accepted. We are dealing with officers in uniform, that also commissioned officers in the rank of Major in a disciplined force like Army where every act of an officer even in private or public places is subject to restrictions, looking to the nature of duty, national security and various other important facets and requirement of the Force,” the AFT said.

First published on: 29-09-2022 at 06:38:36 am
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