Cashiering As a Punishment in the Indian Armed Forces

The sentence of cashiering has its origin from British military law and is incorporated in the Indian army act 1950. It means the ceremonial and humiliating removal from service of an officer. The officer is marched to the parade ground and the cashiering is done in front of assembled troops. Cashiering is part of the Indian army act 1950

Cashiering is not an Indian word and is imported into Indian military law from the English. Cashiering as a punishment is ranked higher than dismissal. It  means the removal from service of an officer in a ceremonial and humiliating manner. The officer is normally marched to the parade ground and his medals, epaulets and other insignia are taken from him and broken. In case he has a sword the same is broken in front of the assembled troops. It is a method to dishonor an officer. Cashiering as a punishment is not applicable to enlisted men and warrant officers.

Cashiering is a British punishment and was incorporated in the Indian Army act 1950 and the Air Force act 1950. This punishment remains in the statute books of the British army. Historically cashiering is directly connected with military discipline. Earlier its use was fairly regular, but now it is not so common but still takes place.

In the British Army Act, cashiering and dismissal are classified as 2 separate punishments, but in the US army there is only the sentence of dismissal as per the Unified Military Code.

In the Indian army act 1950 which is a reprint of the  earlier law during the days of the Raj  and the AF act 1950 which is a reprint of the AF act 1932 the sentence of cashiering is more severe than dismissal. The Army act 1950 specifies that the sentence of cashiering can only be awarded by a General Court Martial (GCM) which shall be presided over by an officer of the rank of Colonel. Section 71 of the army act 1950 lists out the punishments that can be awarded by a court martial. These include

a)      Death

b)      Transportation for life

c)      Imprisonment

d)      Cashiering in the case of officers

e)       Dismissal. 

Section 71(d)   of the act   gives the legal sanction for cashiering. It is applicable only to officers. The presiding officer of the GCM must be senior in substantive seniority to the accused to award any punishment.

Section 74 of the act states that in case an officer is awarded the sentence ‘to be cashiered’ than this punishment will be executed first before any other punishment is awarded to him.  Thus in case an officer is sentenced to be ‘dismissed and cashiered’ he will first be cashiered and then the dismissal orders will take effect.

The corresponding section dealing with cashiering in the air force act is Chapter VII, section 73(d). Other provisions in the AF act 1950 are similar to the army act 1950.

Cashiering as a punishment is part of enforcement of military discipline and many countries retain it in the statute books.

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John Smither
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Posted on Apr 18, 2012