SC refuses to intervene with Military couple’s separate postings

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 16

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with separate postings of an Army couple, saying somebody has to go and serve in places like Ladakh, North-East and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The petitioner – a Colonel in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Department, was aggrieved by his posting to Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Jodhpur in Rajasthan as his wife was being sent to Bathinda in Punjab.

He had challenged the decision to transfer him and his wife to separate far off locations but the Delhi High Court rejected his plea and asked him and his wife – also a Colonel in the Army – to proceed to their newly assigned posts within 15 days.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the petitioner, said that both the officers had a four-and-half-year-old child and they had taken charge at their respective places. The distance between Bhatinda and Andaman and Nicobar Islands is over 3,500 km, he said, adding, the petitioner had to apply for voluntary retirement because of the transfer.

“If the Armed forces say they are opposed to joint posting in Delhi, it may be harsh but somebody has to go to Andaman and Nicobar also,” the top court noted.

“In matters of posting of Army officers, we should not interfere. In places like Ladakh, North-East and Andaman, somebody has to go,” the Bench observed.

“In postings, particularly in the Armed forces, we should not interfere. These are very hard cases. It is very difficult for us to say that reconsider this,” the Bench said, forcing Kumar to withdraw the plea.

The Army contended that since the couple’s marriage in 2008, they had been given three spouse coordinated postings on their requests and “all-out efforts were made to post both of them in the same station”.

Posting the couple at New Delhi “will be at the cost of maintaining voids at formation HQs, which is not in organisational interest”, it submitted.

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