M A I N   N E W S

SC moved on IAF promotions
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 29
The Ministry of Defence today filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the recent judgement of the Delhi High Court quashing the promotions of four Air Marshals on the ground that some other officers were “discriminated” in the process while evaluating their appraisal reports (ARs).

In a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed in the Supreme Court Registry, the MoD claimed that the High Court had “erred” in quashing the February, 2003, Special Promotion Board (SPB), which had recommended the promotions.

The Ministry said that the SPB had recommended the promotions of the four Air Marshals — A.D. Joshi, J.S. Gujral, F.H. Major and A.K. Singh — by taking into consideration their seniority, merits and the personal records.

The promotions of these officers to the rank of Air Marshals was challenged by Air Vice-Marshal T.S. Chhatwal and Harish Masand, who alleged that the February, 2003, SPB had wrongly fixed weightage board marks for promotion at 20 per cent, which were though reduced to 5 per cent by the 2004 SPB.

As the 2003 SPB was authorised to give higher percentage of discretionary board marks, it had resulted in denial of promotion to them, Chhatwal and Masand had claimed.

Allowing their petition, the High Court had severely indicted Chief of Air Staff S. Krishnaswamy and the MoD and ordered reconstitution of the SPB to consider the entire promotion process afresh.

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee had soon after the High Court order, made a statement about challenging it in the Supreme Court.

The Ministry in the SLP further claimed that there was no discrimination or arbitrariness against Chhatwal and Masand, while considering their cases for promotion.

Meanwhile, Chhatwal has filed a caveat in the apex court, pleading that while hearing the government appeal, he should also be heard. This is an attempt by him to frustrate any move by the government to obtain ex-parte stay order against the High Court judgement.


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