Apex court dismisses Army appeal

Case relates to top appointment in JAG dept

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: October 16, 2013 12:10 am

The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed an Army appeal against an Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) order quashing the appointment of its top legal officer and indicting it for “manipulation” in promotions.

The Chandigarh Bench of the AFT had struck down in August the promotion of Brigadier T Prashad as Major General in the Judge Advocate General department that looks into disciplinary proceedings and legal matters of the Army.

A Bench of Justices T S Thakur and Shiva Kirti Singh found no merit in a special leave petition filed by the Ministry of Defence on behalf of the Army. It said the Army failed to give reasons for admission of the appeal.

Attempts by Additional Solicitor General L Nageshwar Rao to convince the court failed as the Bench noted that the issue was decided on the basis of facts that remained incontrovertible.

The court said the issue at hand did not raise a question of law nor did it pertain to an aspect of public interest.

“No substantial question of law,of general/public importance arises for our consideration in these appeals,which are hereby dismissed,” it said.

The AFT had pointed out serious irregularities in the selection board held last August that approved the promotion of T Prashad over two other brigadiers. It said the board acted in haste and did not follow due process as the ACR (annual confidential report) of Brigadier Prashad was modified a day before the selection.

The modifications pertained to an order expunging adverse remarks in his ACR on October 16,2012. The board,which considered the case of four brigadiers for promotion,was scheduled to meet on October 18 but deferred the meeting by a day. It approved promotion of Brigadier Prashad considering the modifications in his ACR.

The AFT said “making the selection after considering the redressal to Brigadier Prashad is inappropriate as per the policy of the MS branch”.

The tribunal was moved by Brigadiers Dinkar Adeeb and P K Sharma,who alleged that the selection of October 19 was “done illegally,hastily,with a mala fide intent to grant undue advantage to one particular officer”.

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