| Chandigarh |
Published: October 7, 2018 10:32:33 am
The Principal Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has come down harshly on the Army’s new promotion policy for Generals finding portions of it to be “not only arbitrary and discriminatory but also violative of the principles of natural justice”.
The bench of AFT Chairperson Justice Virender Singh and Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra (retd) have made the observations while giving directions to the Army to immediately hold the promotion selection board of a Major General for the rank of Lt General.
Pronouncing the judgment on October 5, on the petition of Major General VK Singh, the bench observed that the Army’s new promotion policy of December 2017, which became the subject matter of the case requires a re-visit by the Army for its effective implementation in the right perspective, so as to avoid any further litigation.
Major General Singh was commissioned in the Armoured Corps of the Indian Army on in 1983 and was considered for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General by the Service Selection Board (SSB) held in October 2017. He was not empanelled for promotion on the basis of his overall profile and comparative merit within the batch and limitation of available vacancies. He filed a Non-Statutory Complaint against his non-empanelment, wherein he was granted partial redressal by expunging certain assessment of his confidential report on technical grounds.
However, despite granting him partial redressal, the officer was not considered for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General in view of certain p[rovisions of the enw promotion policy. As per this new policy, the SSB is to be held only once a year and all special review cases are to be considered only with the next scheduled SSB. The officer told the AFT that he apprehends that in view of the new policy he may still not be considered in the next SSB scheduled to be held in October 2018 as that will only be a month prior to his retirement making him ineligible for consideration as per the policy
The counsel for the Union of India told the bench that the new policy stipulates that if an officer is superannuating before occurrence of the first vacancy, then he will not be eligible for any consideration by No. 1 Selection Board (for Maj Gen) or SSB (for Lt Gen). The counsel confirmed that while the name of the applicant will be included in the agenda for consideration, but he will be shown as ‘not eligible’ as he is retiring on November 30 before occurrence of first vacancy.
Disagreeing with these provisions of the policy, the bench ordered that the applicant should be considered for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General as a Special Review (fresh) case in accordance with the same Promotion Policy as was applied for his batch which was in vogue when the first SSB took place in October 2017 and, if found fit by the Board he shall be promoted to the rank of Lt Gen as per vacancy available on that date well in time before November 30, his date of retirement.