SC junks military discharge after 4 ‘red entries’

New Delhi : The Supreme Court has rejected a rule in the Indian Army for direct discharge of a soldier after four “red entries” in his service record, holding that it cannot be the “laxman-rekha” rendering one unwanted and ineligible to continue in service. It held that nobody can be discharged without a proper and independent inquiry.

Ordering the Army to hold a proper inquiry after a due notice to the soldier sacked for creating nuisance repeatedly after drinking, a 3-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur noted that he had already reached close to the pensionable service and hence at least allow him pension if he is to be thrown out.

How can the Army deprive him of pension by resorting to summary discharge, the court asked, stressing that if such discharge is allowed, the commanding officer will get the powers to sack the soldiers not liked by him.Even while agreeing that Rule 13 has no provision for an inquiry or opportunity to the guilty, the Court said it, however, does not mean discharge of one getting four “red entries.” Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha said he would ask the Army to hold a proper inquiry.

The Court was hearing a petition o a soldier who was discharged after more than 10 years of service in the Army. Earlier also in October last year, the court had held that nobody from the Army can be sacked without giving him an opportunity of hearing and a proper independent inquiry.

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