HC quashes Army selection board proceedings led by ex-chief V K Singh
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Two major generals denied promotion to the rank of Lt General under the new assessment procedure had approached the HC after the Armed Forces Tribunal rejected their plea. "The action of the Special Selection Board held on January 7, 2011, of assessing officers on the basis of revised Quantification Policy, which was yet to receive approval of the Ministry of Defence, is patently illegal. A promotion board cannot assess officers for promotion on the basis of the promotion policy which is not approved by the competent authority. If it does so, such decision of the promotion board would be illegal," said the HC.
The Bench underlined that the ministry had time and again directed the Army headquarters to implement the revised Quantification Policy from April 1, 2011, with the changes, but the Army had gone ahead with the changed standards while assessing the officers of the rank of Colonel and above on January 7, 2011 itself.
The court pointed out that the selection board was scheduled to be "held" in October and November 2010, but this was deferred "without there being any justifiable reason for deferment", and that the ministry had also made a note of it.
A note by the Defence Secretary on February 22, 2011, had stated that the January 2011 board proceedings were required to be cancelled but suggested against it on the ground that "it would be extremely detrimental to the discipline of the Armed Forces and the credibility of the system if the government cancels the entire proceedings of the selection board comprising the top-most generals". As a "sensible" solution, the Secretary had recommended that the names of officers selected by the board should be cleared for promotion after due scrutiny on the basis of the revised Quantified Model. Two days later, Defence Minister A K Antony accepted this suggestion and those selected were promoted to the rank of Lt General.