Court dismisses suit on Manekshaw funeral

July 16th, 2008 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a lawyer’s plea seeking directions to the centre to ensure that the alleged lapses during the state funeral of former Indian Army chief Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw did not recur. P.L. Suneja, in his plea to Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah, contended that the manner in which Manekshaw’s funeral was conducted was “shameful”.

A division bench comprising Shah and Justice S.Muralidhar, however, dismissed the plea after Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra informed the court that the allegation was incorrect.

“He was given a state funeral at his home town at the initiative of the government and there is no provision which says flying the national flag at half mast on such occasions is automatic,” Malhotra maintained.

A large number of serving and retired Indian Army officers have expressed anger at the low key funeral accorded to Manekshaw, the architect of the country’s greatest military victor in the 1971 war that saw the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation from the erstwhile East Pakistan.

The highest government representation was in the form of Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju, while the three service chiefs were conspicious by their abscence.

Perhaps to atone for this, the Indian Army Tuesday organised a memorial service for Manekshaw at which Defence Minister A.K. Antony and army chief General Deepak Kapoor, among others, eulogised the Field Marshal’s contributions.

Antony, however, was non-commital on the demand from some sections for posthumously conferring Manekshaw the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian decoration.

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