The Himachal Pradesh High Court has clarified that there is no stay on the investigation into the FIR registered by a woman Colonel of the Army against three Brigadiers and a Lt Colonel.

In its on June 24, the HC clarified that at no point of time the investigation was stayed, rather the court had simply ordered in the previous hearing that no coercive action shall be taken against the petitioners pursuant to the FIR. The matter has now been listed for August 2.

This clarification came when the counsel for the woman Colonel stated before the court that under the garb of the a foresaid order, investigation is not being taken to its logical end by the Kangra district police.

The woman Colonel posted in the Army’s Western Command has also moved the Delhi High Court challenging her posting orders and accusing senior Army officers of tarnishing her character, military reputation and “damaging her chastity before the inferior rank soldiers”.

The officer has challenged her posting orders from a Corps HQs to a Division HQs as ‘additional officer’ and alleged that the same has been done in order to prevent her from pursuing the FIR that she had lodged in February 2024 against three Brigadiers and a Lieutenant. Colonel under various sections of IPC pertaining to stalking, confinement, defamation, and of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

Festive offer

The four Army officers – Brig Ajay Hooda (Station Commander), Brig Vinay Gupta (Chief Signal Officer), Brig Sachidananda Prabhu (DJAG Western Command), and Lt Col Ananjay Saldanha (Second-in-Command Provost Unit) – have moved the Himachal Pradesh HC seeking the quashing of the FIR.

The officers have contended in their petition that the FIR lodged by the woman Colonel is an offshoot of a Court of Inquiry and a disciplinary inquiry initiated by the Army against her on various charges. Challenging the FIR, the Army officers have stated that in August 2023 one person, who happens to be an acquaintance of the husband of the complainant, is alleged to have trespassed on her house and threatened her just to cause harm to her and her children, despite being a civilian. On this, the woman officer lodged an FIR against the individual.

Upon being informed over the phone, Lt Col Ananjay Saldanha sent a Sepoy at the residence of the woman Colonel and on reaching the spot, one civilian was found in a room, with an iron rod in his hand who had cut his hand and throat, leading to dripping blood. It was alleged that the complainant had called the ‘Entry Gate’ to allow this civilian to come as he was her brother. The person was admitted to Military Hospital and after discharge he was handed over to Civil Police.

The petitioners further stated that on August 12, 2023, Brig Ajay Hooda, the Station Commander, ordered a Court of Inquiry regarding the alleged entry of the civilian in the Army area which was violative of Army Rule 177. On October 12, the Court of Inquiry indicted the woman Colonel for willfully disregarding the Army protocol, giving unauthorized entry/permit to a civilian by violating the norms, ignoring verification calls, unauthorizedly signing leave of buddy, besides false accusation of security lapse, and on the basis of the Court of Inquiry, a disciplinary inquiry was ordered against her on January 9, 2024.

The four Army officers have contended that it was only on January 23, 2024, the woman officer filed an application under Section 156(3) of CrPC alleging stalking, confinement, harassment by the petitioners, on which the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kangra, found that the complaint/application prima facie demonstrates commission of a cognizable offense requiring police probe, after an FIR which was registered on February 4, 2024.