Military Court Martial and Sentence Consideration

In a recent legal case concerning a military court martial, the court focused on the intricate legal analysis surrounding the sentencing process. The judgment highlighted the significance of considering multiple factors to arrive at a just and proportionate sentence, showcasing the court’s adherence to established legal precedents and principles. Let’s delve into the nuances of military justice and court rulings in this insightful case summary.


  • The present appellant was enrolled in Signals Corps and was posted to HQ & Radar Battery of 20 Surveillance and target acquisition regiment since 01.10.2002.
  • The appellant shot the deceased Gunner-Sushil Kumar on 30.06.2003 while he was asleep, resulting in the death of the deceased.
  • After the incident, the appellant surrendered himself to his Senior Authorities and confessed his guilt.
  • Investigation was carried out, and the police registered the case, submitting a challan before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Rajouri.
  • The appellant contended that he shot the deceased in a delusion of a militant attack, claiming he had no control over his senses.
  • Upon request by the Army Authorities, the challan and the appellant along with seized items were handed over to the Army Authorities for trial.
  • Appellant charged under Section 69 of the Army Act for committing a civil offence of murder.
  • Court Martial conducted with 15 witnesses, including a Psychiatrist being examined.
  • Appellant found guilty of murder in Summary General Court Martial, sentenced to life imprisonment and dismissal from service.
  • Appellant challenged the conviction before Ministry of Defence and Chief of Army Staff under Sections 164(2) and 165 of Army Act, dismissed by Union of India.
  • Appellant filed a writ petition in Delhi High Court, transferred to AFT upon formation.
  • AFT dismissed the appeal, leading to the present appeal before the court.
  • Counsels heard are Mr. B.K. Pal for appellant and Mr. Vikramjit Banerjee for Union of India.
  • The court has reviewed the material on record.

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  • Various factors considered in Santa Singh case are taken into consideration
  • Appellant was posted in Kashmir during peak terrorism threat
  • No reason to interfere with Court Martial and AFT findings on conviction
  • Appellant found liable for offence under Section 69 of Army Act for murder
  • Appellant’s case deserves favorable consideration for sentence
  • The appropriate sentence in a case is a result of considering various factors such as the nature of the offence, extenuating or aggravating circumstances, prior criminal record, age, education, home life, sobriety, and social adjustment of the offender, among others.
  • In the case of a person convicted for life imprisonment, they must serve a minimum of 14 years before being considered for release, without considering any remissions earned during their time in jail.
  • Factors like rehabilitation prospects, deterrent effect on the offender and others, community need for deterrence, and potential for offender treatment or training should also be taken into account by the court in determining the appropriate sentence.
  • The application of Section 433-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to cases tried under Section 69 of the Army Act, 1950 has been established in legal precedents.
  • The view mentioned in this judgment has been consistently followed in various previous judgments of the court, including the recent case of Gopal Singh vs. State of Uttarakhand.
  • The appellant has served a sentence of 16 years and 6 months, which would be 20 years and 5 months with remission.
  • The appellant has already served more than 14 years, so the bar of Section 433-A Cr.P.C. does not apply.
  • The court finds the sentence served by the appellant to be proportionate to the offence.
  • The appellant surrendered immediately after the incident, claiming he acted under delusion.
  • The appellant’s conduct in jail has been excellent as per the Certificate from the Superintendent.

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  • The appeal is dismissed
  • The appellant is directed to be released from custody

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Case Number: Crl.A. No.-002035-002035 / 2012

Click here to read/download original judgement

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