Court says father’s ambition doesn’t define standards for selection as Commissioned Officer in Army

Observing that it is not a father’s ambition that defines the standards for selection as a Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army, the Delhi High Court has rejected the plea of a young aspirant seeking to take him back in the training at the Indian Military Academy (IMA).

The aspirant’s father, a Lieutenant Colonel himself, had made a fervent plea to consider the case of his son leniently, as the commissioning of his son as an Officer of the Indian Army meant a lot to him as it would be the fourth generation from his family to join the Indian Army.

However, a Bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Asha Menon said that while it may be possible for them to sympathise with the Lieutenant Colonel, but the records reveal that the aspirant Dhruv Jakhar was finding it difficult to settle into the regimented and highly disciplined lifestyle at the IMA.

Absenteeism, lying

Mr. Jakhar used to absent himself from training and special and critical events by malingering or reporting sick. “It was this absenteeism 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,” the court noted.

“He was punished for misbehaviour too. Repeatedly he was found disregarding the chain of command and punishments did not seem to bring about the desired result,” the court said.

“Right from the first term till the third relegation, the petitioner [Mr. Jakhar] continued committing the same kind of offences which were in the areas most crucial to the Armed Forces, namely, building physical and mental strength and developing utmost and unquestioned discipline in following the orders of the superiors,” it added.

Non-disciplined lifestyle

The Bench said it was amply clear to them that Mr. Jakhar was not suited to a military lifestyle and possibly the desires of his father pushed him into this direction. “The father would be well advised 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,” it added.

The High Court’s decision came on Mr. Jakhar’s plea seeking to quash the order to withdraw him from the IMA.

Mr. Jakhar had contended that the Honour Code Committee instituted against him was illegally constituted with members of the same battalion where he was training. He argued that as per the rules, they were supposed to be from different battalions to ensure transparency and prevent miscarriage of justice.

The High Court, however, noted that the Honour Code Committee has been properly constituted and proceedings fairly conducted and decision taken fairly. “The records that were maintained contemporaneously show that the members of the committee were drawn from three other Company,” the court said while dismissing the plea.

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