by Medindia Content Team on  November 20, 2007 at 1:20 PM General Health News
Major General In The Dock For Sexual Harassment
Major General A K Lal has acquired the dubious honor of being the first Major General to be tried in the Indian Army for sexual harassment.

Charged with misconduct and misbehavior , Lal was removed as commander of the 3 Infantry Division at Leh early this September .

According to officials , the order for the 'summary of evidence' ( the legal stage preceding a court-martial or the actual trial ) to be recorded against Lal, will be issued only after the Army HQ scrutinizes the case.

Captain Neha Rawat a signals officer, had alleged that Lal had misbehaved with her on the pretext of teaching her yoga and meditation, at a " meditation session'' on August 28.

He had taken advantage of the fact that she was serving under him, Rawat had said.

Captain Rawat had then complained in a letter to Northern Army Command chief Lt-Gen H S Panag, who promptly ordered an inquiry into the matter.

At the same time, Lal's wife and daughter have defended him, accusing instead Rawat , of 'improper behavior'.

However, the court of inquiry has found enough prima facie evidence to set the stage for a court martial.

This case has once again resurrected the issue of sexual harassment in the armed forces. There are now well over 10 such cases , recorded since January 2004.

Women officers constitute an extremely small minority in the Services. They have been inducted since the early 1990s.

Currently, there are just about 950 women in the Army out of a total of 35,377 officers; 740 out of 10,563 in IAF; and 240 out of 7,336 in the navy.

Women officers can serve a maximum of only 14 years and are not allowed to join "combat arms". There have been however demands of permanent commission in the armed forces.

The action against Lal comes as the new Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor has made it clear that he wants to crackdown on all cases of indiscipline and corruption in the Army.

Source: Medindia

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