Supreme Court stays demotion of Lt. General

Fight among two Brigadiers leads to court battle.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed an order of the Armed Forces Tribunal, Lucknow bench, slapping Rs 50 lakh as costs on the Centre, the Chief of Army Staff and the military secretary, and demoting a Lt. General to the rank of a Brigadier.

A vacation bench of Justices P.C. Ghose and Amitav Roy stayed the tribunal’s order. The tribunal had also slapped Rs 5 lakh as costs on Lt. Gen. Mehta.

Appearing for the Union of India, Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi argued that the tribunal’s order imposing costs and demoting a Lt. Gen will result in chaos in the Army as the order takes away the government’s power of “confidential review” of the personnel in the Army. He pointed out that the tribunal had passed such an order acting on an application from Maj. Gen. R.S. Rathore, who is retiring on May 31 and is not eligible to be considered for promotion in view of the pendency of court of inquiry.

The bench while staying the order directed the appeal to be listed for final hearing in August. In its appeal, the Centre said the final order passed by the tribunal is in complete disregard to the order passed it in the earlier round of litigation. It pointed out that Lt. Gen. Mehta as well as Maj. Gen. Rathore, Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor, College of Materials Management, belong to the Army Ordnance Corps of 1979 Batch. The appeal prayed for quashing the tribunal order and an interim stay of its operation.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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