The Indian Army has put in place a stringent disciplinary policy for stricter scrutiny, when it promotes officers, to ensure those tainted do not move up in its hierarchy.The regime will keep a record of even minor offences, including misconducts of at least 10 years, and in some cases, the entire service duration, if the condemnation has been awarded by the Chief or the Central government.This is in wake of senior officers found involved in cases of misbehaviour or un-officer like acts early in their careers and reaching high ranks. Land scams, involving senior officers, scandalous affairs and sexual misconduct in some cases have dented the Army’s image.Sources said several cases at higher levels showed officers who had committed serious misdemeanours managed to go past scrutiny and got promoted. This triggered a change in the Army’s policy.”An in-house review suggested that more scrutiny is needed to make sure serial offenders don’t rise in service as many such cases were identified recently,” said an Army source.There were many instances when wrongdoings of the past were not detected and officers went on to hold high offices.”The change in policy will make sure that an officer’s shady past will not go unnoticed,” the source added.The disciplinary policy is divided into two: Court Martial for serious offences, including criminal acts, and Administrative Action in the form of a Censure, which till now was recordable and non-recordable.Non-recordable offences were minor in nature and were not part of Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) or a dossier maintained for every officer.”The customs of service of the Army demand the highest standards of personal conduct and respect for military law. The selection of officers now requires the past disciplinary and administrative record of officers to be placed before the selection boards,” a letter circulated to all sections of the Army said.With the new policy in place, non-recordable offences are a thing of the past. Every censure will be part of records for a period of at least 10 years and will reflect in ACRs that could impact future promotions.Censures are awarded for acts considered “minor in nature” and don’t involve criminality or moral turpitude. According to the new policy, cases that do not fall under the minor offence category but are not criminal acts to be tried under a Court Martial can be forwarded to the headquarters for award of a censure by the Army Chief.Censures will be of two types: severe displeasure or displeasure.While the award of a censure will not debar an officer from being considered for promotion but it will be taken note of as part of the overall record of service in assessing the credentials of the officer. This will ensure that the entire record of the officer will be placed before the selection board.
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