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SC rejects Army appeal against promotion of Major General

The ban on Dalbir Singh was imposed by former army chief and currently a minister of state, V K Singh, during the former’s tenure as 3 Corps commander in Dimapur.

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | New Delhi | Published: September 2, 2015 3:33:30 am


Army, indian army, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh, Karun Kumar Sinha, Bikram Singh, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh, Supreme Court, V K Singh, india news, nation news Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag (Source: PTI)

In a setback to Army Chief General Dalbir Singh, the Supreme Court has turned down an appeal by the Army against an order to consider promoting a Major General who had held a key position when a disciplinary ban was imposed on Dalbir Singh in 2012.

The ban, imposed by then Army Chief V K Singh, was later revoked by his successor Bikram Singh. When the ban was imposed, Karun Kumar Sinha was the Major General (General Staff) of Eastern Command, and facilitated communication of such notices to Dalbir Singh.

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A bench of Justices J S Khehar and Adarsh K Goel found no merit in the appeal filed by the Ministry of Defence, challenging an order of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) in April this year in favour of Sinha.

In a recent order, the court refused to admit the Army’s appeal against the AFT’s decision and ordered that “compliance (with the tribunal’s order) shall be ensured under all circumstances” by September 15.

The tribunal, while quashing the adverse comments made in Sinha’s ACR by General Dalbir Singh and his predecessor Bikram Singh, had directed the Army to convene a special board to re-consider Sinha’s case for promotion to the rank of Lt General.

The AFT had noted that downgrading the ACR was not only “vitiated by malice in law” but the assessment of Sinha’s performance was also “subjective, inconsistent and not at all justified” since the officer was conferred the Vishist Seva Medal for his duties during the same period between October 2012 and June 2013.

It gave the Army and MoD three months to convene the promotion board and complete the exercise in view of Sinha’s scheduled retirement on October 31.

The ban on Dalbir Singh was imposed by former army chief and currently a minister of state,V K Singh, during the former’s tenure as 3 Corps commander in Dimapur, citing an operation by an intelligence unit under his command.

Sinha’s petition said that immediately after retirement of V K Singh, following which Bikram Singh took over as Army Chief and then Lt Gen Dalbir Singh took over as the Eastern Army Commander, his ACR was downgraded by the two in their capacity as reviewers.

Aggrieved by the AFT’s decision and strictures, the Army and MoD had appealed in the top court, claiming Sinha was not considered for promotion due to his overall performance, relative merit and comparative evaluation. Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who appeared for the Army and MoD, sought to rebut the charges of bias and subjectivity, saying Sinha’s ACR was adjudged objectively and in terms of the policy.

The bench, however, remained unimpressed with his arguments and said that the AFT decision was well reasoned.

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