New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Central Government and the Army after hearing a PIL filed by a journalist, who alleged that ‘sahayaks’ and other lower rank staff in the Army were allegedly forced to do domestic and menial chores for seniors.
The journalist shot a sting video in which Lance Naik Roy Mathew criticised the ‘sahayak system’ in the Army.
Following the release of the sting video, Lance Naik Mathew allegedly committed suicide, following which the journalist sought a probe into his death.
The journalist was booked by the Nasik police under sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and those relating to criminal trespass and abetment to suicide under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Challenging the FIR, the journalist urged the apex court to issue suitable guidelines to prevent abuse of the OSA, which not only impinges upon fundamental rights, but also journalistic freedom.
The journalist also sought directions for an appropriate inquiry into the alleged misuse of the ‘sahayak system’ in the Army.
The petition said a fair probe was being scuttled by invoking the OSA and the move would send out the message that exposure of misdeeds of delinquent Army officers would be visited with consequences so draconian that no one should dare to do so.
Retired Army jawan Deep Chand, who ran the Army canteen in Nashik where the sting video was shot, is the co-petitioner with the journalist.