FACED WITH non-implementation of its orders by Ministry of Defence (MoD) to hold the promotion board of a Major General for the rank of Lt General, the Principal Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has ordered that the Major General will continue to remain in service beyond his date of retirement on November 30, 2018, till its orders are complied with.
The bench of Chairperson of the AFT, Justice Virender Singh and Lt Gen Sanjeev Chachra (retd) passed the order Monday in connection with the case of Major General VK Singh, an officer of the Armoured Corps.
The bench said that it was passing these orders as “in the interest of justice it is imperative not to allow an impression to go across that the Armed Forces Tribunal is totally toothless in getting its order implemented”.
In its earlier orders in October in the same case, the bench had 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”
Disagreeing with these provisions of the policy, the bench had ordered that the officer should be considered by Special Selection Board (SSB) 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 well in time before November 30, his date of retirement.
In its order on Monday, commenting on the failure of MoD to implement its earlier order giving relief to Maj Gen VK Singh, the bench said, “We find that not only has no preliminary action been initiated to comply with the said order, a perusal of the communication sent by the Ministry of Defence dated November 9, 2018 indicates that the direction given by this Tribunal on October 5, 2018 have also not been complied with. In fact, the letter indicates that the applicant has been considered by a Selection Board on November 13/14 in a manner that is entirely in contravention to the order”.
The bench noted that it is perhaps unlikely that the respondents will be able to either comply with the order or obtain requisite relief from the Supreme Court, if they approach it in appeal, by November 30.
It added that in the circumstances of the case and the manner in which the respondents have delayed execution of the said order it is directing that the officer will continue to remain in service even after his date of retirement till such time the direction contained in its original order is complied with.