Need govt sanction to prosecute us: Army officers to court
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Four senior Army officials accused in a defamation case, alongwith former Army chief Gen V K Singh, have told the court that under the provisions of the code of criminal procedure, the court could not take cognizance of the case against them without prior sanction by the government. The case has been filed by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh.
Several Supreme Court precedents regarding requirement of sanction for prosecution were cited by advocate Siddharth Aggarwal arguing on behalf of Vice-Chief of Army Staff S K Singh, Lt Gen B S Thakur (Director General of Military Intelligence), Major General S L Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Lt Col Hitten Sawhney.
In his arguments before Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja, Aggarwal said that the "primary right to determine whether or not to put a man into a cage of lions is that of his master". Aggarwal said that since press releases were regularly issued by the Army, the court was required to see if the "defamatory" press release fell within "official duties".
The five Army officers were not present during the hearing and have filed applications for permanent exemption from appearance. The court is yet to grant exemption, but allowed their absence from Monday's hearing.
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