The Supreme Court confirms the dismissal of the soldier due to cowardice during the action
NEW DELHI: Raising the bar for soldiers' courage, the Supreme Court upheld the firing of an Army man for showing cowardice during counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and in 2006, while ignoring the testimony of his colleagues that he was a good soldier He had taken part in similar operations in the past and was diligent in protecting the border.
A soldier can not live simply in past glory, but must rise to the occasion on every occasion to defend the integrity of the nation, since that is the trust placed in a soldier, said a bank of judges M and AS Bopanna. The bank confirmed the dismissal of the soldier for showing cowardice during the antiterrorist operation, but left aside the six-month prison imposed by the General Martial Court of First Instance (SGCM).
A court martial had declared the soldier guilty of abandoning his duty and not retaliating despite being armed with an AK-47 and a pistol when the terrorists opened fire on the position of an Army team that had surrounded the ultras in a field near the village Darigidiyan in Ju0026K. The terrorists killed Sapper Gurmail Singh and took a light machine gun.
In his defense, the soldier had said that he had jumped a nearby wall to protect himself and lost consciousness for 10 to 15 seconds after being hit by a bullet in the leg. He said that in those 10-15 seconds, when he was unconscious, the terrorists took the LMG. He also claimed that his was stuck.
He said that the soldier was not up to the occasion, more particularly when his colleague was attacked and killed. Writing the trial for the bank, Judge Bopanna said: There is no reasonable explanation as to why he did not use the weapons that were with him when the attack by the militants had already occurred and his colleague was injured. accept the alibi of the soldier that he was briefly unconscious during the operation and said that he had contradicted himself by the fact that he had narrated minute details of the operation.
The court was aware that, in matters of service, past conduct would be relevant to decide the proportionality of the punishment. However, he said: The court should be cautious when considering the case of an officer/soldier/employee of a disciplined force and the same criterion of comprehensive consideration that in other cases it can not be applied.