An armyman needs permission if he wants to marry a foreign citizen. Sayankar had moved the Bombay High Court, as permission from the army was not forthcoming after he applied in March.
But due to complexity of his case, and army rules, even a sympathetic division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud could do little. Court disposed of his case, saying that army should treat his original application seeking permission to marry as an application seeking permission to quit the service, and decide it "preferably" within six weeks.
As per army rules, armyman can marry a foreign citizen, provided the spouse undertakes to become Indian citizen. But in Sayankar's case, Shruti, his fiance, is not ready to give up her United States citizenship.
Army, on the other hand, was not ready to relax its rules. "These rules concern national security," pleaded its lawyer, advocate Gauri Godse. Sayankar's application to army, in March this year, sought permission to marry, as well as to quit the service as his fiance was not ready to give up US citizenship.
But army's lawyer said that even permission to quit the service prematurely -- after six years' service -- can not be granted automatically under the rule he had relied on. "What if after being released from service he doesn't marry her? This is back-door way of exiting army," she said.
But judges then pointed out another rule that allows a serviceman to seek premature retirement on the ground that he/she is going to marry a foreign citizen. But in such a case, if allowed to quit, he/she can be asked to pay the expenses incurred on army training.
Sayankar's lawyer said that he was ready to pay up. Judges then disposed of the petition, asking army to treat his March application under this provision. Judges also said that army "will consider", while deciding on his resignation, that his fiance was born in India, to Indian parents, and went to USA only following her father's death in an accident.