Will Major Vikas Kumar, of the Indian Army, be able to marry his Sri Lankan girlfriend, Arnila Ranamali Gunaratne, who is pursuing her M.Phil. in Bangalore?
A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vkramajit Sen and Justice B. V. Nagarathna, of the High Court will soon decide on the order of the Indian Army, which had rejected the 34-year-old’s request to cast away his uniform so that he can marry a foreign national.
As Army rules don’t permit personnel to marry those who are loath to give up their foreign citizenship, Major Kumar, an officer with Corps of Signals, decided to resign his post as Ms. Gunaratne (29) was unwilling to give up her Sri Lankan nationality.
However, the Army did not accept his resignation saying he had not completed the mandatory period of service, there is a shortage of officers in the Signals Corps and he is under investigation for unauthorised contract with a foreign national and failing to report it to the authorities.
A single judge bench had set aside the Army’s order but had allowed the Army to investigate the Major’s conduct with regard to contact with a foreign national.
The Defence Ministry appealed against the order before the Division Bench.
During the hearing on Tuesday, the Bench, in a lighter vein asked whether the Army was against love marriage or did it think love at first sight was not a possibility? The Bench also referred to former President K. R. Narayanan [the supreme commander of the armed forces], who had married a Myanmarese.
Major Kumar, an engineering graduate, met Ms. Gunaratne in 2011 and they fell in love. They planned to marry in November 2011 but the Army’s rejection of his resignation put paid to all that. The smitten Major has undertaken to pay back all expenses the Indian Army spent on his training besides not seeking any terminal benefit for his service with the Army since 2000.
After hearing the appeal filed by the Union, the Division Bench has reserved its verdict.