The Hush Post: A general court martial (GCM) has ordered that a brigadier found guilty of adultery with a colonel’s wife be cashiered from service and undergo three years’ rigorous imprisonment. This is a change in the sense that the earlier punishment has been revised after intervention from the Army Headquarters in New Delhi.
The GCM in October had sentenced him a 10-year loss of seniority+ and “a severe reprimand” to the brigadier, who was commanding an infantry brigade meant for the front with China under the 33 Corps in Sukna (West Bengal), after he was held guilty of the crime.
Sources said the Army took a strict view and sought to reconsider the quantum of punishment. The GCM, headed by a major-general, this week imposed the fresh punishment on the brigadier. An officer cashiered from service loses his rank, decorations and all retirement benefits.
“Stealing the affections of a brother officer’s wife” – for a sexual affair – is considered a serious crime in the armed forces because it hits at the very foundations of brotherhood and loyalty fostered in the military, where husbands often leave their wives behind in “separated family accommodation” in cantonments on being posted to forward or field areas. Officers indicted for such offences are usually summarily sacked, mostly without pension and other benefits.
The Army had instituted a (CoI) against the brigadier after his wife, a principal of a school in New Delhi, had complained of his extra-marital affair to his seniors. In the subsequent court-martial, headed by a major general and including six brigadiers, the officer faced as many as 13 charges, including adultery.
In recent times, the forces have been hit by a string of such cases. Recently, a fighter pilot who was indicted by a CoI for having an affair with a senior officer’s wife in Jodhpur was sacked too. The Navy, on its part, sacked two commander-rank officers in Mumbai, one for having an extra-marital affair and the other for sending lewd text messages. In order to ensure it does not repeat, the COI sent through this decision a message which is notice worthy and will possibly keep a check on such crimes.