In an embarrassment to the Navy, the Supreme Court today deprecated its decision to discharge from service a commander for interacting and exchanging explicit messages and photographs with a foreign lady, incidentally the wife of another officer, on the pretext of allegedly passing sensitive information.
“Certainly it shocks our conscience that an officer should be thrown out like this,” a bench headed by chief justice HL Dattu said while dismissing the appeal filed by the Centre against the decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal setting aside the sacking of commander Kalyan Kumar.
(The) “tribunal seems to be justified with its order,” the bench, also comprising Justices S J Mukhopadhya and AK Mishra said while not accepting the arguments of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that action of the officer indulging with a foreign lady by exchanging explicit materials was unbecoming of an officer.
The apex court noted that besides exchange of explicit messages and photographs between the two adults via the Internet, there was no other material to suggest that the interaction between the officer and the foreign national whom it termed as “Gori”, in anyway threatened the national security.
“This lady, a foreigner, is married to an Indian who comes to your home. Will you say you don’t come with the lady who is ‘Gori’. In this society when you are married to an Indian and are a part of the Indian society, can you say don’t come to my house?
“Though, she may have white skin and is married to an Indian, can you say don’t come to my house? You and I also mix with foreigners,” the bench observed, adding that mixing with foreigners could not be considered a “taboo”.
“Is it such a serious matter that court of inquiry is needed,” the bench asked and asked the Attorney General “how is two adults are exchanging messages which is of no threat to national security in the interest of an organisation?
“How could it be misconduct when two individuals are involved and how it would be detrimental to national interest?”