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SOURCE: ANI

An Army General Court Martial has recommended the acquittal of a retired Subedar facing trial in a case where it was alleged that the Junior Commissioned Officer had failed to protect sensitive information under his charge. The JCO was charged under the provisions of the Official Secrets Act, where it was alleged that while performing the duties of Head Clerk, he failed to take reasonable care of the documents with sensitive information.

The entire episode happened in 2020-21, when the JCO was still in service and the information was leaked allegedly by soldiers posted in an Army formation. The JCO was also charged under Section 63 of the Army Act and blamed for not carrying out proper supervision of information and documents, which led to their leakage. The Subedar had retired already in October 2021 from the Army but was recalled since Army Act Section 123 was invoked against him for completion of disciplinary action pending against him.

The GCM assembled on January 4, 2024, wherein, in total, 8 prosecution witnesses were examined. The lawyer of the JCO Advocate Akshit Anand, told ANI that there was no evidence on record that the JCO had any access or authority over the documents that were alleged to have been leaked and the court also did not find any evidence that the JCO had omitted to exercise proper supervision over the leaked documents.

“This was a case where the JCO, after retirement, had been charged under Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act as well as Army Act Section 63. There was no evidence to prove the charges against JCO and the GCM has rightly acquitted the JCO and justice has prevailed,” Anand said. More trials are likely to be carried out in the case in related matters.The recommendation of the Army GCM headed by a Colonel is subject to confirmation by the higher authorities in the force, Anand said.