Colonel who despatched authorized discover to Defence Secretary loses out on promotion, retires

Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 18

A Colonel of the Judge Advocate General’s Department, who had sent a legal notice to the Defence Secretary over discontinuance of rations to officers in peace stations, has not been approved for promotion to the rank of Brigadier.

Consequently, his retirement, that had been stayed by the Delhi High Court last month till the results of the promotion board were declassified, has now come into effect.

After perusing the proceedings of No.2 Selection Board and pleadings made by the counsels in the case, a Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal comprising its Chairperson, Justice Rajendra Menon and Lt Gen Philip observed that the board had not recommended the officer, Col Mukul Dev, for promotion and there was no reason to permit him to continue in service.

Pointing out that this case was different from that of a Brigadier in whose case the order for a stay on retirement was referred for support in Col Mukul’s averments, and he cannot claim the same benefit, the Tribunal ruled that ultimately if this petition is allowed and any order passed in his favour, he can always be restored and given all consequential benefits. He is presently posted in Bathinda.

The Tribunal heard the case along with two other petitions filed by JAG colonels, including a woman officer, in matters concerning their promotion to the rank of Brigadier. It was on the woman officer’s petition that the Tribunal had earlier stayed the results of the selection board.

After the government had stopped the issue of free ration to officers in 2017, Col Mukul had sent a legal notice to the Defence Secretary, terming the move to be illegal and against the terms and conditions of service. He was awarded a ‘displeasure’ by the Corps Commander for violating the Army’s rules and regulations by sending the notice directly to the Defence Secretary. The rations were later restored by the government.

He had also taken up the case for implementation of Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU), as recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission for Group-A services, for the Armed Forces. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court.

Last month, Col Mukul had moved the Delhi High Court contending that his retirement is stayed till the results of the promotion board, held in December 2019, are out because if he retired as Colonel, it may adversely affect his right for promotion. On September 29, a day before his scheduled superannuation, the High Court had granted him protection until the Tribunal heard the matter further.

Directing that the petitioner would be deemed to have retired from service on September 30, his original date of superannuation, the Tribunal ruled that the retirement shall be subject to any final order passed on merits after hearing all concerned.

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