AWFUL MISUSE AND HUMILIATION OF ARMY UNIFORM
The relevant text of some of the press reports from across the country depicting the dastardly acts of militants clad in Army uniform, the likes of which have been shaking up Armed Forces.
In our country, most of the Security Guards at Malls, Hotels and Restaurants, Corporate Houses, Factories and other public places attire themselves in uniform which comprises of a number of items of Army uniform, and wear it in such a shoddy manner that it brings an awful disrepute to the uniformed soldiers and truly disgraceful.
Photographs, appearing in the newspapers, of the camps and hideouts of various militant groups disclose the rampant misuse of Army uniform by their cadres.
School and college going children adorn themselves in combat trousers or combat vests, not realizing an iota of the sanctity attached to the fabric.
Commercial film makers do the maximum damage. A comedian will attire himself in an Army uniform and conduct himself in such a disgraceful manner which certainly makes his character quite comic, but at a huge cost.
The nation pays tribute to a soldier who gives the supreme sacrifice of his life for safeguarding its territorial integrity, by draping his mortal remains in the National Tricolour before being laid to rest. Then why is his uniform subjected to extreme indignity and humiliation – the uniform which is a matter of pride for him from the day he joins the Army, the uniform to which he gives the utmost regards all throughout his life and the uniform in which he fights, breathes his last and sleeps forever, for the tomorrow of the nation.
We all as a nation need to take on the onerous responsibility of putting in concerted efforts to revive the respect and glory of the Army uniform. All the four estates of our democracy – the media, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, along with the ever important support of the citizens, need to combine to take this noble step, which will have far reaching consequences towards creation of a better nation, a nation – we all will be proud of.
Misuse of uniform attire is an area of major concern. Not only is it degrading the image of the Army and the Armed Forces in general, it is also a huge security risk, as anyone can manage to buy a uniform from the market. There are some steps that the government and police should institute to curb this menace. Sale of uniforms and other military material should be permitted only from authorized shops in the military cantonments. A rule should be legislated that forbids any civilian from wearing military uniforms and abusing them by putting the camouflage pattern cloth innate subjects such as suitcase covers. Anyone acting in contravention should be strictly dealt with by the law.
Sec 171. It reads...
171. Wearing garb or carrying token used by public servant with fraudulent intent. Whoever, not belonging to a certain class of public servants, wears any garb or carries any token resembling any garb or token used by that class of public servants, with the intention that it may be believed, or with the knowledge that it is likely to be believed, that he belongs to that class of public servants, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description, for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both
For this section to hold, the Army (or any other agency) needs to prove that the Police have a fraudulent intention. The police can easily put up a counter claim that they are wearing Army style camoflouge pattern because it is required for their operational duties as well. Also the police officers are not asking for the regular "Army Uniform" type dress, which may give an impression that the officer is from the Army. Where as a camouflage pattern would just indicate that the wearer is from some armed unit (be it police, army etc.) They are asking for a type of dress which suits their operational needs. This section how ever is relevant to private security agencies (or criminal imposters), who are not a government establishment and also do not undertake any jobs which the police or other military organisations undertake.
Sec 140 reads...
Whoever, not being a soldier, 1[sailor or airman] in the Military, 2[Naval or Air] service of the 3[Government of India], wears any garb or carries any token resembling any garb or token used by such a soldier, 1[sailor or airman] with the intention that it may be believed that he is such a soldier
The army here again would have to prove that the camouflage pattern is exclusively for Army personnel only. I do understand that if it is the case of the golden rank insignias, army cap badges, medal ribbons etc. this legal provision would hold good. Also here the Army needs to prove (the government officials, or court) that the police have a intention to claim that they are army men.