The Armed Forces Tribunal has stayed the conduct of promotion board for the rank of Brigadier in the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) branch. The interim order has come on the petition of a Colonel who had sent a legal notice to the Defence Secretary in July 2017 over the withdrawal of free rations for army personnel.
Colonel Mukul Dev has moved the AFT complaining that he was not being considered for promotion to the rank of Brigadier in the promotion board scheduled to be held from February 14-17. Colonel Dev, who is posted as Deputy Judge Advocate General in 12 Corps, has stated in his petition before the AFT that he has learnt that the promotion board for the rank of Brigadier is being held in February and that with the aim of harming him, his name has not been included in the list of officers who are to be considered for promotion.
Colonel Dev had created a flutter in the Army circles when he sent the legal notice to the Defence Secretary demanding that the facility of free rations to army personnel be restored. He had threatened to move court if the order was not reversed.
In his petition, the officer has said that upon finding that his name was not on the agenda of the promotion board for rank of Brigadier, he raised a query with the Military secretary’s branch in Army Headquarters through Army Intranet as to why he was not being considered.
Colonel Dev has alleged in his petition that there is a direct divide in the JAG branch between the officers who are transferred to the branch as Inter Arms Service Transfer and the direct entry commissioned officers. He has said that his name has deliberately not been included on technical objections so that the vacancy can be given to direct entry JAG officers.
“The applicant submits that the applicant has been harmed time and again by the officers already belonging to JAG Branch only with the aim to ensure that the vacancies of the select ranks, i.e. Col and above are utilised by the direct entry officers,” the petition states. The petition adds that the harassment of the applicant at the hands of respondents is evident since they have taken out observations on his ACRs dating back to 1996-97 after a gap of 20 years.
Colonel Mukul Dev has also brought to the notice of the tribunal that he had to fight a legal battle till the Supreme Court even to get his rank of selection grade Colonel because officers within the JAG department had conspired to harm his career. The respondents are promoting the juniors of the applicant and depriving the applicant of being considered for such promotion,” the petition says.