The Ahmedabad bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has allowed an application moved by former IPS officer Rahul Sharma seeking promotion to the post of Inspector General of Police (IGP) with consequential benefits.
The 1992-batch IPS officer took voluntary retirement in February 2015 after a relentless row for nearly a decade with the Gujarat government, led until May 2016 by then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Sharma has alleged that he was sidelined following his damning deposition before the Nanavati Commission, which probed the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
When contacted on Monday, the retired officer said his application for promotion has been allowed but he does not have details, as the copy of the order is yet to be made available.
A government lawyer said the CAT order has some ambiguity and he is waiting for a copy.
Sharma had moved the Tribunal in 2016, seeking promotion on various grounds, through advocate Prithu Parimal. He argued that in accordance with promotion guidelines, an IPS officer is eligible for promotion from the rank of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) to IGP after 18 years of service.
CAT verdict has import for other ‘sidelined’ officers
A CAT relief for Sharma is expected to have significance since several IPS officers have, over the last 15 years or so, claimed to have been denied promotion and purportedly sidelined for allegedly refusing to bow down to political pressure. His batchmate Rajnish Rai is facing similar “treatment”, purportedly for his role in probing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. Rai was forced to go on central deputation and following his appeal before CAT, Delhi, was re-transferred. His request for VRS was denied and he was handed over suspension orders last week.
It was submitted that Sharma had completed the required number of years on January 1, 2010. The state government held a departmental promotion committee (DPC) on May 27, 2011 for promotion of officers from DIG to the rank of IGP. But the DPC did not include the batch of 1992 officers, nor was this batch “considered” for promotion.
Sharma contended that as per guidelines for promotion, an employee has “right to be considered for promotion even though he may not have a right to promotion”. He argued that not considering his name, and the 1992 batch of IPS, was “arbitrary and inconsistent with rules”.
Sharma submitted before the CAT that he learnt through RTI that one vacancy for IGP was still left after promoting two officers from 1991 batch to the post of IGP in 2011. His lawyer Prithu contended that “had (the) applicant’s name been considered for promotion by DPC, he would have been promoted since he was the senior-most in his batch.”
Therefore, Prithu argued, Sharma should be promoted to the rank of IGP with effect from May 27, 2011.
The next DPC for promoting DIGs to IGPs for the batches between 1992 and 1995 was held on December 7, 2013 – a day before that, Sharma was served a chargesheet for “typographical errors in official correspondence”. He was denied promotion.
Sharma has contended that he never got an opportunity to represent himself before the DPC.