The Lucknow-based Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has passed a landmark judgment, ordering the reinstatement of an army official, who was court-martialled 26 years ago. AFT has ordered the defense ministry to shell out Rs 4 crore, as compensation to the army officer. In a judgment that reads a staggering 296 pages, the AFT has reinstated the service of Second Lieutenant SS Chauhan, while also directing the Army to deposit Rs 1 crore with the Army Central Welfare Fund within four months.
Chauhan was part of the 6th Rajput Battalion and was court-martialed on November 4, 1991, when he was posted in Srinagar. The reason for the court-martial was that he was a deserter and mentally unstable. The ART bench, led by Justice DP Singh and Air Marshal Anil Chopra, has quashed the court-martial, ordered Chauhan’s reinstatement, and directed the Army to provide him promotional opportunities up to the rank of Lt Colonel, which will be used to calculate salary arrears, pension benefits and rank.
“Keeping in view the finding of fraud and trial by a farce SGCM proceeding and mental pain, agony and humiliation suffered by the petitioner, it is a fit case where the petitioner should be awarded exemplary compensatory cost and the relief may be molded accordingly,” the bench said.
Chauhan had pointed out that he was framed in a false case, after he had recovered 147 gold biscuits weighing around 27.5kg during a search operation in Srinagar on April 11, 1990. He said that his officers tried to embezzle the gold, and in doing so, framed bogus charges against him.