Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 6
The Army has cited the current border situation and critical officer shortage to deny the same place posting to its first ‘colonel couple’.
The Army has revealed that the present strength of officers of the rank of Colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Department, the Army’s legal wing, is just about half of the sanctioned strength.
“The JAG Department at present is holding only 23 Colonels out of its authorization of 40 Colonels,” an affidavit, submitted before the Delhi High Court by Army Headquarters in the matter of the Army’s first “colonel couple” seeking a posting to the same station, states.
In September, the High Court had stayed the postings of the couple. Col Amit Kumar and Col Annu Dogra from Jodhpur to Port Blair and Bathinda respectively, after a petition by Col Amit, averred that the posting orders were arbitrary and in complete violation of the standard operating procedure on the subject. Both are serving with the JAG Department.
Expressing its inability to transfer them both to the same station, the Army has contended that the only potential station is New Delhi, but due to overall paucity of Colonels in the JAG’s Department, posting both to Delhi will be at the cost of maintaining voids at formation HQs, which is not in organisational interest especially in view of the present operational situation along the borders.
Pointing out that they had been granted a spouse coordinated posting at Jodhpur after about three years, the officer had claimed that they had remained separated for long durations in the past due to various factors that prevented spouse coordinated postings. Further, the tri-service Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) was a low-key appointment with the relatively little workload.
The Army has contended that ANC is an independent and important command which is not under the JAG, therefore demanding the posting of an experienced officer and presently there is an operational situation which includes high security at all levels including ANC which requires strengthening of hands.
In its affidavit, the Army has also pointed out that in 12 years of marriage, the officer and his wife were given three spouses coordinated posting, including the home station and extended tenures.