There was a rejection of 615 Women Officers, who were considered for Permanent Commission by the Special Selection Board, this was held in the judgement passed by a division bench judge comprising HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE MANMOHAN & MR.JUSTICE CHAWLA in the matter LT. COL. VANDANA SHARMA V. UNION OF INDIA AND ORS,( W.P.(C) 9633/2021 & C.M.Nos.29776-29777/2021).
Writ petitions have been filed challenging the interim order dated 27th August 2021 passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi [AFT]. Petitioners also seek a direction to the Respondents not to release the Petitioners from service on 12th September 2021. counsel for the petitioners states that the AFT has fixed the next date of hearing on 27th September 2021 and if stay on release is not granted by this Court, the petitioners will be released from service on 12th September 2021.
Counsel for the petitioners emphasises that no women officer, whose ACRs were only taken into account by the Special Selection Board No.5, has secured less than 60% marks. He further emphasises that fifteen women officers could not secure 60% marks due to inefficient and defective UAC appraisal System and contends that all UAC affected women officers being in highly disadvantageous positions are a distinct class.
Learned counsel for the petitioners also submits that the action of the respondents is violative of the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Lt. Col. Nitisha & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors. dated 25th March 2021, wherein it has been held as under:-
QAP: Overall performance of the officer is evaluated by taking the average figurative assessment of all reporting officers other than FTO and HTO. The average will be worked out for each year as well as for the entire period of officers service. The latter QAP will be converted into a proportion of 75 marks.” (emphasis supplied).
So the learned counsel for the respondents submits that Section 30 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 mandates that no appeal lies against an interlocutory order of the Tribunal. They also submit that the grounds urged in the present writ petitions do not warrant the issuance of a writ of certiorari. Moreover, despite the shortcomings in the UAC Appraisal System being pointed out by some of the petitioners in the case of Lt. Col. Nitisha (supra), the Supreme Court did not quash the same or direct that it shall not be taken into account while deciding the overall percentage of the candidates for permanent commission. This Court cannot lose sight of the fact that many short service commission officers may have been selected to a permanent commission on WP(C) 9633/2021 & connected Page 5 of 5 the basis of the marks obtained by them in the UAC appraisal system.
Further, if the UAC appraisal system is to be disregarded for petitioners for the period 1999-2005, then it is not understood as to what marking system is to replace it in the interregnum
The court perused the facts and argument’s presented, it thought that –“ the opinion that paragraph 93 (v) referred to in the judgment Lt. Col. Nitisha (supra) offers no assistance to the petitioners as that is not one of the directions given by the Apex Court. This Court is also in agreement with the AFT and the learned predecessor Division Bench in WG CDR Nidhi Badhani Vs. Union of India & Ors., W.P.(C) No.5871/2021 wherein it has been observed that if by an interim order an employee is allowed to continue in service and then if the writ petition is ultimately dismissed, it would tantamount to usurpation of public office without any right to the same. However, this Court does not doubt that the AFT shall try to dispose of the original applications filed by the petitioners as expeditiously as possible. Accordingly, the present writ petitions along with pending applications are dismissed .” Dated on 8th September 2021.