False sexual harassment case Army women officer Dismissed

An Army court martial has ordered the dismissal of a woman officer who had accused her seniors of sexually harassing her, but her allegations were found to be false.

“The court martial has ordered her dismissal from service. Captain Poonam Kaur had been charged on 11 counts including disobedience, making false allegations against superior officers and addressing the media pertaining to service matters,” Kaur’s counsel, Colonel (retired) S K Aggarwal said.

Kaur had alleged that three officers of her unit — the Army Supply Corps in Kalka, Haryana — had physically and sexually harassed her and confined her illegally when she resisted their advances.

A court of inquiry had then been ordered an investigation into the allegations of physical and mental harassment leveled by Captain Kaur against her superior officers.

She had accused three of her seniors, including her commanding officer, the unit’s second-in-command and adjutant, a Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel and a Major rank officer respectively, of harassing her over a few months.

However, in an immediate reaction, the Army had denied the charges.

“The court martial proceedings, which were initiated last year against Captain Kaur, in its order at Patiala on Friday, have ordered her dismissal from service, which will be subject to confirmation by the Western Command chief, a process which may take two months,” Aggarwal said.

The counsel termed the judgment as “too harsh even if the counts on which she has been charged guilty are considered to be true”.

Kaur was posted to Kalka on October 18, 2007 from the North-East. She had claimed that she had been placed under house arrest in her quarters in Kalka, which was denied by the Army.

According to the Army, on June 30, Poonam was ordered to move to Pathankot for commanding one of the detachments of her unit located there, but she sought deferment for the move citing personal reasons.

She was again instructed to move on July 11, and she requested that she be permitted to leave on July 12, which was granted.

However, she refused to go and later allegedly refused to meet a Major General rank officer, who visited the unit to listen to her grievances. On September 1 last year, Captain Poonam Kaur was attached with 5 Armoured Regiment at Patiala after the Army Commander, Western Command, issued an order for action against her.

She was earlier posted with the ASC unit at Kalka and had leveled her allegations on July 15.

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