The Supreme Court today asked the Center to file its response as to whether it had approved the Army's "command exit promotion" policy, which has been quashed by the Armed Forces Tribunal, meant for officers of the rank of Colonel and above from January, 2009.
"Had the Defence Ministry filed an affidavit before the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) that it has approved the 'command exit promotion policy'?" a bench of justices TS Thakur and R Banumathi said.
It asked the Defence Secretary or a person authorized by him to file an affidavit within a week stating "whether the government had accepted the recommendations of the AV Singh Committee (AVSC) with regard to the 'command exit promotion policy'".
The bench also said that the response of the government should contain details about the promotion policy being followed and if the AVSC report was not approved then whether the Ministry had taken up the issue with the Army or not.
The bench is hearing the appeal of the Defence Ministry against AFT's decision to quash Army's "command exit promotion" policy on the ground that it is violative of Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution. The apex court had on March 25 stayed the March 2 decision of AFT to quash Army's 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.
Earlier, the court had asked the Defence Ministry to file its rejoinder to the response of the officers on whose plea AFT had passed the order. Advocate Meenakshi Lekhi, appearing for several officers, had submitted that all ranks of personnel from Colonel and above would be affected due to the "biased" promotion policy.
She was appearing for the main petitioners including Lt Col P K Choudhary on whose plea AFT had said that the 2009 promotion policy had resulted in preferential promotions to officers of select branches of Army and hence should be scrapped.