Court martial is a trial conducted by a military court for punishing its personnel in accordance to military law. Any case which results in breakdown of military discipline can proceed here. It may also be used to try prisoners of war (PoW) for war crimes. Indian Army has four different kinds of court martial. Army courts can try its personnel for all kind of offences except murder and rape of a civilian, which are tried by a civil court.
Despite a strict code of conduct we have witnessed incidents of breach of civilian trust on it. Several officers of Indian Army are facing trials on account of their wrong moral conduct.
Given next is a list of Indian Army officers who either had faced court martial proceedings or are going to face it, for their misconduct.
A Gorkha rifles Officer, Surinder Singh was dismissed on December 21, 2004 from service after being found guilty of fake encounters in Siachen glacier. Siachen is known as the world’s highest battlefield.
He was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for period of three years. The charges against him included a film containing fake encounters to claim him bravery awards.
H. S. Kohli was sacked for conducting several fake encounters in North East in 2003. The incident includes taking photographs of civilians splashed with tomato ketchup posing as corpses and staking his claim for gallantry award. This took place at Bada Nagadun near Silchar in Assam in 2003 and Kohli was dismissed from the Army in November 2004 after the court found him guilty. He is also known as ketchup Colonel.
In 2002, R.P Singh of Maratha Light Infantry was caught diverting discounted army liquor into the open market. Following this he was charged in a court martial, before the army terminated his services in 2004. He was found guilty of setting up an organized racket of overdrawing liquor from the canteen store department (CSD) and selling them in open market of Haryana.
After Lt Gen P K Rath, a former military secretary was convicted guilty on the counts of Sukna land scam.
He was dismissed from service on 3 Dec. 2011, means he will not be entitled to any pension benefits. He played an important role in the illegal transfer of 71 acres of land located nearby Siliguri in West Bengal to an educational institution in 2008.
Major General Lal’s instance is a case in point of increasing sex abuse. With an overall strength of 1.2 million troops, the percentage of females in the Indian Army is only 2.65 percent of the total officers serving currently in Indian Army.
One such lady officer was abused by Major General A K Lal, when he asked for her help in yoga. The junior woman officer was assisting him, when he allegedly charged for sexual misconduct against in 2007. Lal was held guilty during the same year for sexual harassment and dismissed from the Army.
As the commanding officer of 4 Rajput Regiment, Colonel DK Pathania’s unit got involved in fake encounter in the ‘Machil sector’ of North Kashmir. The three men claimed as infiltrators were shot down and later on, were identified as three local youths. The court martial in the case is still proceeding. The Army has ordered court martial proceedings against another officer Major Upinder and seven others.