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The Delhi High Court asks the home ministry to let the wife stay with him for two days

The mystery of the missing BSF jawan, Tej Bahadur Yadav, seems to have been solved, as of now. The jawan, who had jumped into the limelight recently with a social media video in which he had complained bitterly about the quality of food being served from the mess canteens, was allegedly incommunicado, soon after the BSF cracked down on the act as a case of sheer indiscipline. The BSF had also denied all allegations made in the video.

Yadav’s wife Sharmila Devi had expressed fears that her husband may have been arrested and that she was not being able to contact him and neither is the BSF telling her where he is. On February 10, the Ministry of Home Affairs declared in front of the Delhi High Court bench of Justices GS Sistani and Vinod Goel that Yadav had not been arrested and that he had been transferred to another battalion—the 80th Battalion—in the Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The court looked at the appeal of Yadav’s wife sympathetically. It asked the petitioner’s counsel: “Have you asked his family, have they spoken?” To which the petitioner replied: “He (Yadav) expressed apprehension on January 7 via some third individual (of there) being a possibility that he might be arrested illegally and has a death threat too. We tried to communicate with BSF but they did not reply.”

The additional solicitor general (ASG), arguing for the home ministry, replied: “He is in communication with his wife and child… Why such a frivolous writ petition?”

The bench defended the petitioner and said: “The family feeling can’t suddenly come up. If there is nothing to be hidden, let this be stated on affidavit and we will dispose it.”

The ASG said: “I have told the court lordship, she can go and meet him.” The bench immediately said: “If wife is apprehensive she can go and meet.”

The petitioner insisted: “My main submissions are: Where is he? Whether he is under investigation?”

The case of Yadav taking voluntary retirement also came up. The bench asked: “He took Voluntary (retirement) when?”

The ASG clarified: “Changed his mind and again applied…”

The next question was, “Where is he at the moment?”

To which the ASG replied: “At 80th battalion and his family is aware.”

“Punished? Confinement?” asked the bench.

“No. He has been transferred to 80th Battalion from 29th.”

It was made clear before the bench, however, that Yadav’s mobile phone was under investigation. “Therefore another telephone and SIM card have been given.”

The order was comprehensive. It said:

“Direction sought by petitioner. The petitioner claims that after the video was uploaded by Constable Tej Bahadur on January 9, 2017, her husband went missing and whereabouts unknown. She fears he is being detained. Husband is not allowed to talk freely. It is also alleged his mobile has been seized.

“The ASG insists that the apprehensions are baseless, which is evident from documents produced. Call records shows that up to February 7, 2017 they have talked. By an order of February 7, Tej Bahadur has been transferred to the 80th BN BSF, from records submitted.

“Respondents have no objection in wife meeting her husband at 80 BN BSF Kali Badi Sambha. BN headquarters. On her arrival she should approach the commandant of 80BN BSF and she should inform beforehand. She will also be allowed to stay overnight for two days.”

The case has been listed for further hearing on February 15, 2017.

—By India Legal Bureau

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