The Top Court threatens to send senior military officer to jail for flouting judicial writ

Share on:

The Supreme Court on Thursday diminished heavily on the overall Officer Commanding of Telangana-Andhra Sub-Area (TASA) for deliberate violation of a shot judicial writ giving possession of a land to a civilian and using the might of defense force to raze down the boundary wall thereon land.

Even before additional law officer S V Raju could open the case files, a bench of magistrate N V Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli said, “Armed forces are meant to guard the country and not the ego of a personal who thinks he has the might of defense force.” 

“The Army lost the claim on the piece of land in every court and still didn't bother as you (GOC) think you'll be able to send the military to dispossess a civilian. Give us the name of the officer and that we will send him to jail,” the bench said.

When Raju attempted to defend the action of the military by arguing that the land of the civilian isn't demarcated which made the military believe that the civilian was encroaching on the defense force land, the bench said, “Do you think that we are like children to be swayed by such arguments? Can a commoner challenge the might of the Army?”

The bench dismissed the Centre’s appeal against the Telangana HC order refusing to remain the tribunal order sending the GOC to jail for willful violation of the writ granting ownership of the land to civilians by recognising their adverse possession for over a century and half. 

However, the SC ordered that the most important General wouldn't be taken to jail. “If we hear any such complaint against him in future, he will attend jail,” the bench warned.

The case incorporates a checkered history because the land, on which this establishment of TASA is ready up, was acquired initially by the Nizam of Hyderabad for military purposes over 100 years ago. The defence establishment had filed a lawsuit within the year 1971 claiming ownership over nine acres of land, which it claimed was encroached upon by civilians.

The civilian defendants claimed ownership over the land through adverse possession for over 160 years. A Secunderabad civil court had dismissed the suit filed by the military, which was upheld by the HC. 

With the military troubling them over possession of land, the civilians sought execution of the decree and therefore the court on January 27, 2021 ordered that the final Officer Commanding and therefore the Defense Estate Officer be sent to civil prison for 2 months each for his or her willful disobedience and violation of the decree of cease and desist order lapsed the court on December 11, 2017. It had also asked them to repair the boundary wall the military had damaged.