New Delhi, Sep 11, 2017: Within days after taking charge as the Defence Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman faced a new difficulty as over 100 lieutenant colonels and majors have moved to Supreme Court over alleged “discrimination and injustice” in promotion of officers of the services corps.
According to reports, Army personnel in their report petition said “This act of Army and Union government (discrimination in promotion) has created tremendous injustice to the petitioners and others which is detrimental to the morale of the officers and, in turn, to the defence of the country.”
What should worry the government is the petitioners’ plea not to deploy services corps in operational areas along with the combat arms if parity in promotion is not granted.
In their joint petition, hundreds of lieutenant colonels and majors of the Indian Army said that services corps officers were deployed in operational areas and faced challenges similar to officers of combat arms corps.
”Then why the officers of services corps were deprived of promotional avenues available to officers of combat arms,”’the petitioners have asked through counsel Neela Gokahle.
Led by Lt Col P K Choudhary, the petitioners claimed that continued discrimination in promotion was affecting the morale of services corps’ officers who had discharged their duty in a dedicated manner for more than 10-15 years.
On February 15 last year, the apex court had resolved an earlier petition by services corps officers complaining of meagre allocation of colonel posts for promotion.
The apex court resolve the issue taking help from a report by the Ajay Vikram Singh Committee, which was tasked to reduce the age of commanders of battalions and brigades, post Kargil War.
Without questioning the SC’s February 15 decision, the petitioners said they were challenging the selective treatment of services corps officers as ‘operational’ when the need arose and relegating them to ‘non-operational’ when it concerned promotions.