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Delhi High Court stays verdict on fake killings

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, JAN. 11. The Delhi High Court today stayed the confirmation of three years' rigorous imprisonment and cashiering (dismissal) awarded to Capt. Surinder Singh in the case of fake killings of militants in Siachin to get promotions in 2002. A Division Bench comprising Justice D.K. Jain and Justice H.R. Malhotra stayed the sentence on a petition by the convict seeking a direction to the Union Government and the Chief of Army Staff to make available a copy of the General Court Martial proceedings to him, so that he could file a pre-confirmation petition as well as challenge the proceedings later.

Staying the confirmation of the proceedings, the Bench sought replies from the Government and the Chief of Army Staff to the petition within two weeks. The Bench fixed February 15 for hearing the matter.

The petitioner, through counsel R.S. Randhawa, also submitted that he reserved his right to challenge the proceedings of the Court Martial on merits once a copy of the same was provided to him. The General Court Martial in December last year held the petitioner guilty of the charges of "indulging in acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline and making false accusations against a person subject to the Army Act knowing such accusations to be false" and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for three years and cashiered him.

The petitioner applied twice for a copy of the Court Martial proceedings. After getting no response, the petitioner wrote to the Southern Command Headquarters in Pune, to the Chief of Army Staff and the Government for the same. But the copy was not made available to him. He was exercising his right under Rule 147 of the Army Rule, the petition said.

Mr. Randhawa submitted that the petitioner wanted to challenge the sentence in fora available to him. He further submitted that the petitioner was being denied a copy of the proceedings "on account of bias and with malice and motive."

The petitioner apprehended that the aim of the authorities was to confirm the proceedings without giving any chance to the petitioner to prefer a petition under Section 164 (1) of the Army Act, Mr. Randhawa submitted.

The petitioner further submitted that as per his knowledge, the copy of the proceedings was being denied to him under the command influence of the Chief of Army Staff.

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