Nearly 58 years after an army officer laid down his life in the Indo-Pak war and was promoted posthumously, the Delhi High Court has asked the Honours and Awards Committee to consider a representation by his son for conferring a gallantry award upon him.
The high court said the committee may consider expediting the process and give its decision within three months.
It further said that the facts of this case “are unique and pertain to the war which happened almost 58 years ago, therefore, this order shall not be treated as a precedent”.
The order came on a plea by retired Brigadier N B Singh that his father Major Mohan Singh had sacrificed his life in the 1965 Indo-Pak war and he should be considered for a gallantry award.
The counsel for the petitioner said that although Mohan Singh was martyred in the rank of a Captain, he was posthumously given the rank of Major, and this in itself, is an acknowledgment of the soldier’s gallant act.
A bench of Justices Najmi Waziri and Sudhir Kumar Jain was informed by the counsel for the petitioner that the case of his father has not been considered by the appropriate committee and the matter should be taken to its logical conclusion, that is, a gallantry award should be conferred upon later Major Mohan Singh.
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The bench said, “In the circumstances, let this appeal be considered as the appellant’s representation by the Honours and Awards Committee at the Army Headquarters level.
“Within a period of three weeks, the appellant (N B Singh) may file such additional documents or representations that he may wish to rely upon.
“Looking at the long pendency of the appellant’s claims, the aforesaid committee may consider expediting its process of consideration of the appellant’s representation and render its decision preferably, within a period of three months from the date of receipt of this order and/ or the other documents/ representations as may be submitted by the appellant, whichever is later,” the high court said.
N B Singh said his father was a soldier who sacrificed his life in the 1965 war in heroic and gallant circumstances. He said that his father was a non-combatant soldier and the place where he fell mortally wounded became the Line of Control (LOC) and should be considered for a gallantry award.
He said that his father’s name now finds mention at the National War Memorial in the vicinity of India Gate.
The central government’s counsel submitted that the Indian Army is proud of its soldiers and honours them in every possible way and their gallant acts are duly acknowledged and gallantry awards are conferred, after due consideration of the act of bravery.