The Wire Staff The Wire Staff RIGHTSSECURITY 05/NOV/2019 New Delhi: News that the Army headquarters is in the process of finalising a code of conduct which its veterans will have to follow has met with open criticism from retired officers, who in the recent past have not minced words in hitting out against government, army and political practices. The plan to hold Army men and women to a set of rules even after they retire was disclosed by Lieutenant General Ashwani Kumar at a news channel appearance. Newspapers like Times of India and Telegraph have both revealed that sources had told them that the army was planning to have serving officers sign an undertaking promising that they would adhere to the code even after retirement. “But the code is still at the discussion stage…there is nothing final yet. Moreover, the Navy and IAF will also have to be consulted too,” a senior officer told TOI. In their report on a possible code for veterans, ThePrint has said that the Army Act covers only serving officers. Veterans are, therefore, not bound by it, even though they can retain their ranks after retirement. Once they retire, Army officials’ actions come under the Indian Penal Code. According to several reports, among veterans who have been critical of the purported move by the Army are Major General (retired) S.S. Chohan, Brigadier (retired) V. Mahalingam, Major (retired) Navdeep Singh and Colonel (retired) Ashok. More veterans are understood to have spoken to the above-mentioned news outlets under the condition of anonymity. Code of conduct for veterans won’t be legally binding: Army clarifies Downplaying the controversy which was triggered after former Adjutant General of the Army, before his retirement, said a code of conduct is under consideration, the Army clarified that if and when it takes shape it will only be in the form of an advisory. Abhishek Bhalla New Delhi November 7, 2019UPDATED: November 7, 2019 11:26 IST Officials said whatever code is made it will not be without proper feedback from the veteran community and they will be taken on board and their suggestions will be taken. (File image for representation) Code of conduct for veterans won’t be legally binding: Army clarifies



Army Mulls Code of Conduct for Veterans

The news has met with severe criticism from retired officials.
New Delhi: News that the Army headquarters is in the process of finalising a code of conduct which its veterans will have to follow has met with open criticism from retired officers, who in the recent past have not minced words in hitting out against government, army and political practices.
The plan to hold Army men and women to a set of rules even after they retire was disclosed by Lieutenant General Ashwani Kumar at a news channel appearance. Newspapers like Times of India and Telegraph have both revealed that sources had told them that the army was planning to have serving officers sign an undertaking promising that they would adhere to the code even after retirement.
“But the code is still at the discussion stage…there is nothing final yet. Moreover, the Navy and IAF will also have to be consulted too,” a senior officer told TOI.
In their report on a possible code for veterans, ThePrint has said that the Army Act covers only serving officers. Veterans are, therefore, not bound by it, even though they can retain their ranks after retirement. Once they retire, Army officials’ actions come under the Indian Penal Code.
According to several reports, among veterans who have been critical of the purported move by the Army are Major General (retired) S.S. Chohan, Brigadier (retired) V. Mahalingam, Major (retired) Navdeep Singh and Colonel (retired) Ashok. More veterans are understood to have spoken to the above-mentioned news outlets under the condition of anonymity.

Code of conduct for veterans won’t be legally binding: Army clarifies

Downplaying the controversy which was triggered after former Adjutant General of the Army, before his retirement, said a code of conduct is under consideration, the Army clarified that if and when it takes shape it will only be in the form of an advisory.


Officials said whatever code is made it will not be without proper feedback from the veteran community and they will be taken on board and their suggestions will be taken. (File image for representation)

Code of conduct for veterans won’t be legally binding: Army clarifies

Downplaying the controversy which was triggered after former Adjutant General of the Army, before his retirement, said a code of conduct is under consideration, the Army clarified that if and when it takes shape it will only be in the form of an advisory.



Officials said whatever code is made it will not be without proper feedback from the veteran community and they will be taken on board and their suggestions will be taken. (File image for representation)
Acode of conduct being planned for army veterans will not be binding and will not have any punitive measures, army sources said.
Downplaying the controversy which was triggered after former Adjutant General of the Army, Lt Gen Ashwani Kumar, before his retirement said a code of conduct is under consideration, the Army clarified that if and when it takes shape it will only be in the form of an advisory.
"These will be guidelines and restricted to protocol issues regarding veterans. There will be no gag on freedom of speech or any other rights as it is being speculated," said a senior army officer.
"It will not be compulsive nor will it be punitive," the officer added.
The veteran community has been extremely vocal, with the help of social media, to criticise some of the policy decisions taken recently.
Sources said, as of now it's only an idea and not even at a draft stage.
Officials privy to the details said representation from the veteran community was arranged with regards to certain issues they face after retirement.
Issues raised
There is an issue over rank parity after retirement that has been raised, sources said that was one of the triggers for the need of some kind of a code of conduct.
"There is a concern whether the rank held by a veteran or seniority in terms of age and service be considered for according a senior status during official events," said an official.
The other issue is that veterans must always clarify that they have retired and are not in service when they use their ranks with their names. This, officials said, needs to be addressed especially when the veterans are part of a protest or any demonstration.
Officials said whatever code is made it will not be without proper feedback from the veteran community and they will be taken on board and their suggestions will be taken.
Discussions will also be held with the Indian Ex-Services League, a body of military veterans.

Acode of conduct being planned for army veterans will not be binding and will not have any punitive measures, army sources said.
Downplaying the controversy which was triggered after former Adjutant General of the Army, Lt Gen Ashwani Kumar, before his retirement said a code of conduct is under consideration, the Army clarified that if and when it takes shape it will only be in the form of an advisory.
"These will be guidelines and restricted to protocol issues regarding veterans. There will be no gag on freedom of speech or any other rights as it is being speculated," said a senior army officer.
"It will not be compulsive nor will it be punitive," the officer added.
The veteran community has been extremely vocal, with the help of social media, to criticise some of the policy decisions taken recently.
Sources said, as of now it's only an idea and not even at a draft stage.
Officials privy to the details said representation from the veteran community was arranged with regards to certain issues they face after retirement.
Issues raised
There is an issue over rank parity after retirement that has been raised, sources said that was one of the triggers for the need of some kind of a code of conduct.
"There is a concern whether the rank held by a veteran or seniority in terms of age and service be considered for according a senior status during official events," said an official.
The other issue is that veterans must always clarify that they have retired and are not in service when they use their ranks with their names. This, officials said, needs to be addressed especially when the veterans are part of a protest or any demonstration.
Officials said whatever code is made it will not be without proper feedback from the veteran community and they will be taken on board and their suggestions will be taken.
Discussions will also be held with the Indian Ex-Services League, a body of military veterans.

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