HC directs Assam Rifles to release jawan forthwith

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Shillong, Oct 14 (UNI) The Gauhati High Court has directed the Director General of Assam Rifles (DGAR) to release AR jawan Md Haider Ali from their custody forthwith.

Rifleman Md Ali was put under detention in Manipur since January 16 for carrying out a campaign for better pay and parity for the AR personnels with the Army.

Last year, the detained soldier along with 1,900 personnel in a petition to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil had highlighted the grievances of AR jawans.

On October 12, a Divison Bench comprising Justice A P Subba and Justice T Vaiphei asked the AR authorities to release Md Ali from their custody forthwith.

Earlier, Ali's wife had filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the Shillong Bench of the High Court, pleading the court to ask the AR to produce her husband in the court apprehending that he might have been killed.

However, Central Government Counsel Raghavendra Jha, who appeared on behalf of the AR, informed the Court that Ali was alive and posted in Manipur.

In another petition taken up by the court on October 12, Ali's wife said a special plea to the jurisdiction is made against the court martial convened by the AR on August 11 this year against Ali for the alleged use of criminal force against his superior officer.

Mr Jha stated that after a special plea to the jurisdiction, taken by the petitioner in the court martial was admitted, the Assam Rifles would be under the obligation to convene another court martial, which was not done so far.

Justices A P Subba and T Vaiphei said, ''When a special plea to the jurisdiction is accepted, the convening authority should convene another court martial forthwith or else the accused should be released.'' The court martial was adjourned sine die on August 17 and no fresh court martial has been convened.

The Judges also observed that the continued detention of Ali by the AR without convening de novo court martial comes in direct conflict with the provisions of Army Act, 1950 and the Rule 51(3) of the Army Rules 1954.

Ordering the jawan's release, the court said the AR could arrest the accused if they convene another court martial for his trial.

UNI

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