Saturday, December 8, 2012


Delivering a sharp rap on the knuckles for not adhering to a judgement given by it and causing undue harassment to a petitioner, the Kolkata bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal has directed the Military Secretary, Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain to express regret to the petitioner.

Giving its directions in a contempt application field by Col Arun Dattaji Patole (retd), naming the Military Secretary, Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain and the Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh as respondents, the AFT bench has also come down very hard on the Col MS (Legal) for not taking the matter seriously. The bench has found his attitude to be "callous" and recommended action against him by higher authorities, if they so desire.

The genesis of the order lies in an order given by the bench earlier directing the MS to hold a special promotion board of the officer to the rank of Brigadier and intimate the result to him with complete reasoning. He was also directed to provide a personal hearing to the Colonel if he was not satisfied with the reply.

The Army did hold a special promotion board but communicated its result in a perfunctory manner without giving any detailed reasoning:

"I.  Ref WP 15548(W)|2OO3  filed by you in the High Court at Kolkata.
2 . Consequent  to  the relief granted by Kolkata High Court in WP 1,5548-w/2003  vide order dated 2 Feb 2, you were considered  as Special  Revielw  (Fresh) case of the 1971 batch of AOC by the No. 2 SB held from 06 to 0B Apr 2011,  under the previous system of selection  (value judgement) and not approved  for promotion  to the acting rank of Brig."

When the officer reminded the MS of the directions of the AFT bench and that he wanted an interview with him he received an arrogant reply which bordered on dismissive attitude:

"  In case you want to  have personal hearing you must intimate  the date so that date is fixed and case be
explained about non  empanelment along with  the reasons as directed by  the  Hon'ble Armed Forces
Tribunal.  lt is clarified  that you have to come on at your own expenses  for the said interview,  as no funds are allocated for  calling retired  officers for  personal hearing."

Clearly, not pleased with the action taken by the MS Branch in pursuance of the orders given by it, the Bench passed the following hard-hitting order.

 "We direct that MS, during his visits to various Command HQs. including Pune and Kolkata (where

the appricant  usualy resides)  must intimate the applicant  and grant all possible facilities  to give him a personal hearing in which all aspects must be explained  to  him in detail within the limits of security.  The applicant  should be apprised  as to why he was low on merit and whether ail points that were to be covered
have indeed been covered  while considering  his case in the special  board. subsequent  to such a personal  hearing,  it will only be appropriate  for the MS on behalf of the respondents to express  regret to the war veteran for the delay and agony thus caused.  Thereafter,  the MS shall pass a speaking  order in writing explaining  the detairs of the interview and the reasons  for non-empanelment  of the applicant  in the special
board that was conducted  on the order of this Tribunal".

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