SC for reinstating 'sexually explicit' Navy officer

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan dismissed cross appeals filed by the Union government and Commander Ravindra V Desai.

A Navy commander, who was dismissed from service for making sexually explicit calls to wives of other officers, got partial relief from the Supreme Court, which upheld the Armed Forces Tribunal's order to reinstate him.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan dismissed cross appeals filed by the Union government and Commander Ravindra V Desai. The court declined to interfere with the order of the AFT, resulting in loss of seniority by 24 months and salary for more than five years to the officer. It directed for his reinstatement within two weeks.

“Such a sentence, according to us, would meet the ends of justice,” the bench said.

The bench said once the charges are proved in the court-martial conducted by the authorities and the AFT also has given its imprimatur by putting its stamp of approval after recording the evidence and detailed analyses, it is not the function of the apex court to revisit the entire evidence to find out as to whether the finding of the authorities are correct or not.

After court-martial proceedings, Desai was dismissed from service on January 26, 2013.

Desai, however, remained out of service, despite the AFT reducing his sentence by the loss of seniority by 24 months. The tribunal ordered his reinstatement by directing that he would not be entitled to pay and allowances from the date of dismissal till his reinstatement. The top court on August 31, 2015, stayed the tribunal's order, forcing him to remain out of service and suffer a loss of salary. The tribunal had rejected his plea for not using the mobile number from which sexually-explicit calls were made to wives of three officers.

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