Discipline in the army of any nation is sacrosanct. No Military force can survive without it. One aspect of this is the code of moral turpitude. The US army had dismissed a senior general on this account a year back. The general David Haight is now cooling his heels as a civilian. In the Indian army, Major General RS Jaswal who is a two-star general was dismissed from service without pension on Friday after he was found guilty of sexually harassing a woman officer of Captain rank three years ago in 2016. This has been reported by News18.

The incident

The incident took place when the officer was commanding a regiment of the Assam Rifles while posted in the Indian state of Nagaland. The Assam Rifles is an ethenic regiment of the Indian army and comes under the Eastern Command, headquartered at Fort William, Calcutta. The lady, a Captain in the Indian army had alleged that the officer had called her at night to his quarters and misbehaved with her.

She gave a written complaint and the army chief Bipin Rawat took the case seriously.

The wheels of justice began to move and Major -General Jaswal was attached to Western Command at Chandimandir and a Court of Inquiry ordered. It recommended that a prima facie case existed against the general and a General Court Martial was convened, headed by a Lieutenant General. The GCM found the officer guilty and he was sentenced to be dismissed without any pensionary benefit immediately.

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Military

Punishment

The General was found guilty under section 354A of the IPC which concerns sexual harassment and Section 45 of the Army Act 1950 which defines an act as prejudicial to good order and discipline (unbecoming conduct). Major General Jaswal has denied all the allegations

All punishments awarded by a Court Martial can only be executed after the sentence is confirmed by the Chief of Army Staff. General Rawat confirmed the sentence in July but the orders were passed only on Fridayand the same were communicated to the officer by the GO-C-in C Western Command.

AFT appeal

The officer was dismissed from service without pension or any other benefit. Zee News has reported that the officer has filed a plea before the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) for a review of his sentence. General Jaswal had claimed that he was a victim of factionalism within the Army which had allegedly arisen due to the appointment of Army Chief. One can recollect that the present chief was appointed after the government superseded two senior generals.

Last word

Major General Jaswal has over 30 years of service but this act of misdemeanour has proved his nemesis. The army cannot condone acts of moral turpitude as they undermine discipline so essential in a fighting force. Even the Royal Navy had removed 9 sailors for drug abuse.

General Jaswal is in Chandimandir at the moment waiting for a review of the sentence awarded by the GCM. However, his chances appear bleak.

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