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GCM arrests woman officer, kicks up a row
Vijay Mohan/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
A woman army officer summoned as a witness was reportedly placed under arrest by a general court martial (GCM) for alleged verbal altercation with the court during proceedings.

The officer was reportedly kept in “illegal confinement” in the custody of an escort officer overnight. While the GCM has been adjourned sine die following the incident, the officer - a major with the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Department - is understood to have made a written complaint to the Army’s top brass and sought an interview with the Army Chief.

The GCM was convened by the Eastern Command to try a lieutenant colonel posted in a military hospital on charges of indulging in private practice while in service and misusing military infrastructure for the same. According to sources, the woman officer was on leave when she was summoned last week along with some case files pertaining to the ongoing trial, presided over by a colonel from the Electronics and Mechanical Engineers.

After the alleged verbal altercation took place, the GCM adjourned and she was infirmed that she was being placed under arrest for contempt of court and was told to remove her cap and belt. She was released next evening on orders by the General Officer Commanding, Bengal Area.

JAG officers say that the act of placing the officer under arrest was illegal because as per provisions of the Army Act and Army Rules, the witness could not have been placed under arrest for contempt of court. Perceived contempt of court on the part of a witness who is subject to the Act has to be reported by the GCM to the individual’s commanding officer or competent authority for initiating requisite action.



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