MP: HC orders release of havildar detained in military custody

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Jabalpur, Apr 15 (PTI) The Madhya High Court has directed officers of Madhya Bharat Area of the Army's Central Command headquartered here to release an Army havildar from military custody while quashing the order of his arrest.

A division bench of the High Court comprising Justices Prakash Shrivastava and Virender Singh, which was hearing a petition filed by Havildar Sumesh B's wife, directed the respondents to release him, the aggrieved party's counsel Ajay Pal Singh said.

The havildar is one of the witnesses in a case of irregularities in clothing stores of the Technical Training Regiment at the Signal Training Centre in Jabalpur, Singh said.

About one and half months have passed and no time limit has been mentioned in the impugned order (of detention), the court observed in the order passed on April 6, copy of which was made available on Wednesday.

'He (havildar) cannot be kept in military custody for an indefinite period, denying him personal liberty without any justifiable reason,' the court stated.

The respondents will be at liberty to impose appropriate conditions at the time of release to ensure smooth completion of the Court of Inquiry, the bench said.

The havildar's wife Saranya G S had filed a habeas corpus petition over alleged illegal detention of her husband on February 23, 2021 by the order of commanding officer, the petitioner's counsel said.

The habeas corpus petition was filed, as the petitioner was unaware of her husband's whereabouts and she and her children were not allowed to meet him, he said.

Even 48 hours after detention, the havildar was not produced before any competent authority or court as per norms, the counsel said.

Sumesh cannot be placed in custody by officers of the Court of Inquiry as per norms, as he is a witness and not an accused in the matter and there is no reason for his tampering with evidence, Singh said. PTI COR LAL ARU