The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL) petition alleging that the system of awarding gallantry medals to army officers is arbitrary (Jaswant Singh v. Office of President of India)..A Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh heard the plea moved by a retired army colonel at some length before cautioning that heavy costs may be imposed if the petitioner presses the plea. The petition was, subsequently, dismissed as withdrawn. .Pertinently, the Court expressed that it was not inclined to entertain the matter unless the petitioner points out specific instances when such medals were arbitrarily awarded.."(Your allegation is that) the gallantry awards are not given on merit but nowadays only on rank - you justify. Bare allegations, these are all allegations. You repeat two-three times, we are not issuing notice. Give one example. Otherwise, those who are not getting medals are always making allegations - (saying) ‘wrongly given’," Chief Justice Patel orally observed. .Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Vivekanandh contended that those involved in deciding on the award of the medals were far-removed from ground realities. .He contended that more weightage should be given to the recommendations made by commanding officers on the war front, and not the members of the Committee ultimately deciding on the award of the medals. .If any recommendation by a commanding officer is rejected, the same should be supported by reasons, the lawyer argued. ."The other aspect is, there is a serious defect because non-gallantry acts such as trekking, sailing across oceans, are also awarded gallantry medals," Vivekanandh added. .Further, he also contended that rather than going by the merits of a person's act, the award is being handed out on the basis of rank. Such rank-based award defeats the purpose of awarding gallantry medals, which is to recognise courageous acts on the field, he submitted. ."Specific case is, what has happening, rather than whether act is of merit, just because a person is reaching a specific rank, he is given the medal," it was argued.."Have you given examples? That ten medals have been given only on basis of the rank? Have you given in memo of the petition? ... It is very easy to say that for those who are not getting the medals to say … It is very easy to put an allegation that awards are given on rank not merit, but what is the basis for saying so? Give examples. Otherwise, this is all argument in abstract", the Chief Justice said. .Vivekanandh responded that specific examples were not given as the petitioner did not want to pinpoint any person already given a medal. "Are you aware about the last persons who were given the gallantry award? At least two persons? Medal is not just given like that! They (Committee) are wiser than the petitioner. If you are wiser than the Committee, give two examples", the Chief Justice remarked, in turn. .Whereas Vivekanandh said he could file a list, the Court responded by saying:"We will not allow any adjournment. If you want to withdraw, withdraw. This is not a small allegation. You should have through twice before putting allegations ... You have started with this argument ... if you cannot substantiate your argument, even prima facie... You are putting an allegation upon whom, do you know?".The petitioner's counsel also pointed out an example of an army officer who had been denied a medal, despite the recommendation of his commanding officer. .Reference was made to late Major Akshay Girish Kumar, who was martyred during the Nagrota terrorist attack and who was recommended for the Shaurya Chakra award by the senior most field commander. The Court was told that the Major Kumar's name was only mentioned in dispatches (MiD) instead. There was no reason given by the Committee for this reduction, the lawyer argued, adding that an MiD is a commendation certificate, at best. .He added that the MiD was being equated to a gallantry medal here by the army, even though it is not so. .The Court, however, was not impressed by the submissions. Upon Chief Justice Patel cautioning that heavy costs may be imposed for the allegations made, the petitioner's counsel said he would withdraw the plea. .The Court added that is a good that the plea was withdrawn, lest costs would have been imposed. ."We don't want to impose costs on a military man," the Chief Justice said.