LUCKNOW: Emphasizing that the rule of law helps the country to “avoid doomsday” and the judiciary keeps democracy moving, former judge of the Allahabad high court and former member of the Lucknow regional bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal, Devi Prasad Singh, said the use of a civilian as a human shield by Major Leetul Gogoi in 2017 was “correct” as per law and the move was for public safety.
Major Gogoi was at the centre of a raging controversy after he tied a civilian in front of his military jeep as a ‘human shield’ against stone-pelters in Budgam district during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election on April 9, 2017.
Despite public outrage, former army chief General Bipin Rawat had awarded him the COAS commendation card for the act.
Speaking on the ‘Role of armed forces tribunal to strike a balance between justice and discipline’ on the occasion of 12th Raising Day of AFT’s Lucknow regional bench, the former judge said, “The Indian Penal Code gives ample power in the event of emergency. I have defended Major Gogoi in my writing (book). The officer tied a citizen on his jeep to save 12 people, and moved on so that terrorists could not fire at them… that was a correct step under Sections 76, 78, 79, 80 and 81 of the IPC.”
The programme was attended by Justice Alok Mathur of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court, chairperson of UP state law commission Justice AN Mittal, additional advocate general Kuldeep Pati Tripathi, current member, AFT (Lucknow bench), justice UC Srivastava, Brigadier Nitish Bisht the Brig DV & HD HQ central command and other army officers and lawyers.
“Failure of justice makes a country hell. Look at Yemen, Syria or even Pakistan. Judiciary keeps democracy running. It ensures that generals (army), ministers and others abide by the Constitution and the law. As a judge, one should never engage in an act of balance or get influenced just because someone is a general or a minister – it will take you to doomsday in due course of time (sic),” he said.
“If you cannot abide by the oath or the Constitution, don’t become a judge or an army officer,” he added.




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