The non-filing of an application before the AFT, could best be a procedural irregularity. The High Court bench consisting of J. Prathiba M Singh and J. Subramonium Prasad decided upon the matter of CDR Ravindra Pal Singh & Ors v. Union of India & Ors. [W.P. (C) 11230/2020], dismissed three writ petitions seeking grant of Permanent Commission, stating that the same was not an entitlement.
The Petitioner had filed before the AFT an application seeking direction against non-consideration for grant of Permanent Commission to which the AFT had granted interim relief to the petitioners. The petitioner filed the present petition challenging the impugned order passed by the learned Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) previously. As per the respondents, the petitioners were shortlisted and the Selection Board was constituted for consideration of grant and later decided that the petitioners were not entitled to any relief.
The counsel for petitioner submitted that the petitioners were protected by the interim order passed by the AFT and the discharge order would in effect be violative of the said interim order. The counsel for the respondents submitted that the directions of the Supreme Court had been carried out in letter and in spirit. In any event, the non-filing of an application before the AFT could best be a procedural irregularity on part of the respondents.
The court held that the ideal course of action for the Respondents, during the operation of an interim order, was to move before the AFT. However, since the court in the present petition was only concerned as to whether the respondents had implemented the directions given by the SC. The court found that the grant of Permanent Commission was duly considered. Further the court stated “Under these circumstances, no interference is called in the present petitions, under Article 227 of the Constitution. The question as to whether the policy applied and whether the rejection of Permanent Commission to the Petitioners is valid or not, would have to be decided on merits by the Tribunal, either in the pending petitions or in any fresh challenge which may be mounted by the Petitioners”. The petitions were dismissed, however, the court, considering, that the petitioners had served for several years in the Navy and that they would be required to look for fresh accommodation, as also on humanitarian grounds during the global pandemic, they were permitted 3 months to vacate their official accommodations.
Further the court added that “Usually Short Service Commission officers are given eight to ten months release time in order to enable them to seek alternate employment. If that is the usual practice, the Petitioners are permitted to make a representation to that effect to the Respondent authority, which shall be considered in a compassionate manner considering the prevalent situation of a pandemic. The Petitioners are permitted to approach the Ld. AFT for any further directions in this regard. Needless to add that the observations made in the present petitions would not affect the final determination by the AFT”.