Before suspending Army Officers pending Court of Inquiry, opportunity of hearing need not be given to them : Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court of India, through learned judges, Justice M.R Shah and Justice B.V Nagaratna in the case of Col. Vineet Raman Sharda vs Union of India (Writ Petition (Civil) No. 448/2022) observed that before suspending Army Officers pending Court of Inquiry, opportunity of hearing need not be given to them.

BRIEF FACTS: The petitioners filed the writ in the nature of certiorari to quash the illegal, unlawful and arbitrary suspension orders passed against them. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioners relying upon relevant provisions of the Army Act, 1950 and the Army Rules, 1954 vehemently submitted that by suspending the petitioners, the petitioners can be said to be under `open arrest’. It is also the case on behalf of the petitioners that before passing the impugned order of suspension, no opportunity of hearing has been given to the petitioners

FINDINGS OF THE COURT: The court did not accept the submissions on behalf of the petitioners that before suspending the petitioners pending the Court of Inquiry, an opportunity of hearing was required to be afforded to the petitioners. Even under Regulation 349 also, there is no requirement of such a procedure to be followed. The petitioners can be suspended pending the Court of Inquiry, which as stated by Shri Tushar Mehta, learned Solicitor General has already been constituted and inquiry is going on. In that view of the matter, the court held that the petitioners are not entitled to any relief at this stage pending proceedings before the Court of Inquiry, as claimed in the present petition. Accordingly, the petition was dismissed

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