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SC restores the punishment of cashiering awarded by Court Martial, holds abusing a position of trust being a doctor is not condonable

The SC on July 29, 2020 {LT. COL. S. S. BEDI vs UNION OF INDIA & ORS.restored the punishment of penalty of cashiering by taking into account the reprehensible conduct of the Appellant abusing a position  of trust being a Doctor which was held to be not condonable.

It was observed by the Bench, comprising of Justice L. NAGESWARA RAO, Justice HEMANT GUPTA & Justice S. RAVINDRA BHAT, that the tribunal converted the sentence of cashiering into a fine of Rs.50,000/- by holding that the Appellant has a blemishless record of service. It was further observed that the Tribunal found the imposition of the punishment of cashiering from service shockingly disproportionate. It was observed that the Tribunal also highlighted the delay in the complaint made against the Appellant. The SC held that it is not convinced with the reasons given by the Tribunal for converting the sentence from cashiering to imposition of fine of Rs.50,000/-. 

It was, however, directed that the Respondents to consider the entire record of service of the Appellant and his advanced age while taking a decision to initiate proceedings under the Army Pension Regulations. It was held that in case the Respondents decide not to initiate proceedings under Army Pension Regulations, the Appellant shall be entitled for all pensionary benefits.

In the present case, a complaint was made by two women against the Appellant on 15.05.1986 that he misbehaved with them during checkup by inappropriately touching their private parts.The Appellant was commissioned in the Indian Army Medical Corps on 24.07.1966. 

It was held by the SC that the evidence of PW-13 Lt. Col. R. Sharma, Physician is to the effect that there was necessity to examine the cardio vascular system of the patient who was suffering with bronchial asthma which involved exposure of chest/breasts and touching of the breasts. However, squeezing of the breasts and nipples of a lady patient - the allegations against appellant- was unnecessary.

It was held by the SC that there was no motive for false implication of the Appellant by the complainants, therefore, it is in agreement with the conclusion of the General Court Martial and the Tribunal that the Appellant is guilty of the charge of using criminal force against two women patients. The appeal was accordingly disposed of.

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