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SC irked over Army following two promotion policies

The Supreme Court on Wednesday took strong note of the Army following two promotion policies saying how could the Chief of Army Staff defy government order.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday took strong note of the Army following two promotion policies saying how could the Chief of Army Staff defy government order.

The court's observation came when the counsel for Ministry of Defence said that the Centre had approved the new "command exit promotion" policy but all the vacancies were not filled up by Army under this policy and some were done under pro rata basis also.

"Whether the government took any exception to it? How could the Chief of Army Staff defy the government order," a bench of justices T S Thakur and R Banumathi asked.

"What exceptions you took," it further asked, adding how can the Army, on its own, fill up certain vacancies under pro rata basis.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Defence Ministry, said that the Centre had approved the new promotion policy, which has been quashed by the Armed Forces Tribunal, meant for officers of the rank of Colonel and above from January, 2009.

"Where is the government order? Where is the acceptance of the government. Show us the letter or acceptance of the Prime Minister or 'Raksha Mantri'," the bench said, adding, "we want to satisfy ourselves. We will give you the fullest opportunity".

The ASG then referred to the records to buttress the point that the 'command exit' promotion policy has been approved.

The court then adjourned the hearing in the matter.

Earlier, the court had asked the Centre to file its response as to whether it had approved the Army's "command exit promotion" policy or not.

It had also asked the Defence Secretary or a person authorised by him to file an affidavit within a week stating "whether the government had accepted the recommendations of the AV Singh Committee with regard to the 'command exit promotion policy'".

Some army officers had claimed that the new promotion policy had adversely affected them as it is "arbitrary" and highly skewed in favour of Infantry and Artillery, as compared to other branches of the Army.