Plea alleging award of gallantry medals to armed forces 'arbitrary' withdrawn from Delhi HC

By PTI

NEW DELHI: A plea seeking that the current system of awarding gallantry medals to armed forces personnel be declared arbitrary and against the principles of fairness was withdrawn from the Delhi High Court on Wednesday.

The petitioner decided to withdraw after the bench indicated it would dismiss with a heavy cost the plea alleging opaque selection process.

“After advancing arguments at length, the petitioner seeks to withdraw the petition unconditionally. The writ petition is disposed of as withdrawn,” a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Jyoti Singh said.

The bench asked the petitioner’s counsel to give examples of persons who were given the award without deserving it and said it is very easy to make allegations.

The petition, which has been filed by a retired defence personnel, alleged that there have been instances where acts of gallantry worthy of high recognition have been ignored by the system.ALSO READ | Armed forces have decided to admit women in NDA, Centre tells SC

Advocate S M Vivekanandh, appearing for the petitioner, argued that the persons who are considering to whom the gallantry award should be given are far away from the ground reality.

The absence of a mechanism to review a decision has led to “serious cases of injustice being meted out to deserving personnel of the armed forces”, the plea said.

The gallantry awards are generally given for conspicuous acts of valour done by armed forces personnel during peacetime or wartime, it said.

All these gallantry medals are regulated vide various notifications issued by the office of the President of India from time to time, as to its form, selection criteria and benefits that will be given to the awardees.

It sought that the current system be declared arbitrary and unconstitutional on the grounds of opacity in functioning.

“The extant mechanism that considers each act of bravery by armed forces personnel individually for award of a gallantry medal is undefined and opaque in its functioning.

“Coupled with the absence of any mechanism for review of a wrong decision, it has led to serious cases of injustice being meted out to deserving personnel of the armed forces,” the plea said.