Two Army majors face court martial for 'illicit relationship'

The officers met during Army's operation to capture Hizbul Mujahideen's Burhan Wani

Section 497 provides for prosecution of the man involved in any adulterous relationship with a married woman, but lets her go scot-free | Reuters [File] The matter came to light when the major's wife filed a complaint against them with Army chief General Bipin Rawat | Reuters

The Army has ordered court martial against its two officers in major rank for allegedly having an "illicit relationship". While the female officer is from the Intelligence Corps, the male officer is with the Special Forces. The court martial proceedings will begin on May 22. 

The matter came to light when the major's wife filed a complaint against them with Army chief General Bipin Rawat. The complainant also wrote to the Army chief's wife who heads the Army Wives' Welfare Association (AWWA) that handles issues related to family matters of the officers. The major's wife also submitted intimate videos and photographs of the officers to substantiate her allegations of sexual relations between the two. 

Sources claimed that the officers met during the Army's operation to capture Burhan Wani who was the commander of Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. Wani was finally killed in an Army operation in July, 2016. The female officer was posted in the Northern Command Counter Intelligence Unit, while the male officer was with the Rashtriya Rifles, the specialised Army unit for counter-insurgency operations. 

The charge-sheet that recommends court martial against the officers quoted Army Act section 45: "Being an officer, behaving in a manner unbecoming his position and the character expected from officer". "...At field, between November 16, 2016 to April 24, 2017, despite being a serving married officer, he indulged in an illicit relationship with a major, a serving woman officer," read the charge-sheet against the male officer. He was also chargesheeted for getting "himself video-graphed in (a) sexually explicit act with a serving woman officer". 

The Court of Inquiry has slapped similar charges on the female officer, too. The court has also looked into the six photographs and the CD submitted by the major's wife as evidence to frame charges against the officers. 

According to the sources, the female officer was involved in various operations and was also awarded the Army Commander's Commendation for her operational services in 2012 when she was posted in the northeast. The male officer has also been associated with multiple counter-insurgency operations. 

The sources said that despite such relationships being consensual, these would not be allowed as it may affect the Army's moral fabric. The Army abides by the notion that the force is like a big family and leniency should not be allowed during such cases.