New Delhi: A retired Army officer of Lieutenant Colonel rank has slapped a defamation notice of Rs 1 crore on a serving officer for his remarks on the ‘disabled pension’ for military veterans.

The notice dated November 6 has been issued on behalf of Lt Col Niraj Bakshi (retired) who was granted disability pension on retirement. According to the former Army man, the serving officer made irresponsible comments during an interview aired by a news channel on October 31.

“You spoke in an irresponsible and abandoned manner about various service subjects and issues outside your purview, some of which are only under the exclusive domain of GOI. Your (referring to the officer) comments expressed are against the statement of Union Defence ministry,” reads the defamation notice.

During the interview, the serving officer reportedly spoke about the Army’s disability pensioners and persons with disabilities, conveying that many such beneficiaries do not deserve the payout. The offer said hypertension was not a medical condition and underlined that there should be an incentive for those who retire in fit shape.

Citing Rule 21 of Army Rules, 1954, the defamation notice says it is an offence for a serving Army officer to speak to the media on any such service subject without the express sanction of the government. The serving officer had given his interview in uniform. “While you were in uniform and on date when you were in service, you have not only breached the contravened but have also spoken in contravention of the statuary law, laid down by the court and intention of the defence minister,” says the legal notice.

The retired officer lambasted the serving officer in his notice. He said, “You spoke disrespectfully against persons with hearing loss saying that they could get hearing aids. You also spoke of the tax exemption controversy which is sub-judice.”

The defamation notice added, “Rather than speaking of problems of soldiers, military veterans and their families and the burgeoning deficiencies by the system including pay and pension anomalies, lack of medical care and medicines in the ex-servicemen contributory health scheme, you opted to denigrate your own military comrades by you uncalled for utterance.”

Lt Col Bakshi (retired) has sought Rs 1 crore as damages for causing irreparable damages caused his reputation.

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)

Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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