It would indeed be a betrayal by the society if a soldier deserving a gallantry is denied the same, the Court observed.
The Delhi High Court has asked the Central Government to reconsider its decision not to give Gallantry Award to an CRPF Jawan. The Court observed that a brave soldier needs to be recognized for his commitment to serve the nation with dignity and honour.
Rajesh Shukla served as Constable with CRPF and in 1992 he was stationed in the State of Punjab where the Terrorism was at its peak at that time. He had approached the High Court aggrieved by the Government decision not to confer him the Gallantry award.
A Bench comprising of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani observed: “The respondents had treated as if the petitioner was injured when the terrorist indiscriminately fired. This is not so. The petitioner was injured when he engaged the terrorist whom the petitioner saw fleeing into the sugarcane fields. As the petitioner fired at the terrorist, the terrorist retuned the fire. The petitioner suffered four bullet injuries. He did not relent. He continued to inch forward and fire at the terrorist who was forced to retreat. This aspect has been completely overlooked. The result was that the terrorist could not escape and was shot dead by the other members of the force.”
The Court said: “Even amidst uncertainty and doubts of whether they would live to see a new day, their respect for service and commitment to willingly support their comrades, should duty call is truly exemplary and distinguishes such officers from the ordinary. It is these officers who are indeed worthy of the highest regard, respect and honour and their brave and relentless efforts should never be forgotten.”
Directing the Government to reconsider the issue, the Court observed: “It is settled law that while exercising a discretionary power all relevant facts necessary to take the decision have to be noted and properly weighed. If the discretion is exercised in a casual manner it would vitiate the decision. In the instant case the discretion to be exercised has civil consequences; a financial benefit which shall enure to the petitioner for all his life. It is not a medal alone. That apart, society owes a debt of gratitude to the brave. A nation which honours the sacrifice and bravery honours itself. By acknowledging and endorsing acts of bravery, sacrifice and exemplary devotion to duty a nation fosters and encourages similar acts from its citizens and sets high standards of conduct in public affairs. A brave soldier needs to be recognized for his commitment to serve the nation with dignity and honour. It would indeed be a betrayal by the society if a soldier deserving a gallantry is denied the same. A right created must require its due redemption.”
Read the Judgment here.