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It is not a father’s ambition that defines the standards for selection in the Indian Army – Delhi High Court

In the case of Dhruv Jakhar Vs Union of India & Ors. [W.P. (C) 5622/2020] Hon’ble Justice Rajiv Sahai and Justice Asha Menon advised the father of the petitioner to allow his son the freedom to choose his life path and allow him to blossom forth in whatever he so chooses, which is certainly not the Indian Army.

The petitioner joined the Indian Military Academy for his Pre-Commissioning Training to join the Indian Army as a Commissioned Officer but the petitioner was subjected to ragging and as a result had to be admitted to a hospital. The grievance of the petitioner is also with regard to the conduct of the Honour Code Committee proceedings. According to him, it was illegally constituted from 08 GC Members from the same Battalion, whereas, as per the Rules, they were supposed to be from different Battalions to ensure transparency and prevent miscarriage of justice. Secondly, this Honour Code Committee was attended by the Coy Cdr against whom the petitioner had complained. Further, a Major from the Manekshaw Battalion was nominated as the Presiding Officer of the Honour Code Committee and indirectly exercised influence on the Junior Officers. The petitioner further claimed that on account of the fear exerted by the Coy Cdr who used to start shouting at the petitioner whenever he started to speak in front of the Honour Code Committee.

Court observed that, “The Honour Code Committee has been properly constituted and proceedings fairly conducted and decision taken fairly. The petitioner had claimed that the Honour Code Committee had comprised of GCs from the same Battalion. However, the records that were maintained contemporaneously show that the members of the Honour Code Committee were drawn from three other Coys. The Coy Cdr Lt.Col. Yuvraj Malik was not involved in the proceedings. His presence has been noticed only during the questioning/evidence recording.”

Court further ennunciated that, “The explanation offered by the petitioner for failure in the three Physical Tests may appear plausible but for the fact that the records reveal that the fundamental cause of failure was the obesity of the petitioner. The petitioner has not been able to clear the toe-touchand other Physical Tests despite opportunities during the mandatory and compensatory attempts and even in the Commandant’s Review attempt. This would also show that the petitioner has been granted fair opportunity to clear his Physical Tests. Despite counselling in this regard, the petitioner seems to have not taken adequate measures to reduce his weight. By no means were his instructors acting with bias or vindictiveness if they expected a cadet to withstand rigorous physical challenges.”

Court held that, “The records reveal that the petitioner was finding it difficult to settle into the regimented and highly disciplined lifestyle at the IMA. The petitioner used to absent himself from training and special and critical events by malingering or reporting sick. It was this absentee and lying about the reasons for such actions that led to several of the punishments as also the Honour Code Committee being constituted against him. Repeatedly he was found disregarding the chain of command and punishments did not seem to bring about the desired result.”

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