The Supreme Court will hear on April 22 the appeal filed by the government against the decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) quashing the Army promotion policy for the rank of Colonel and above from January 2009.
A Bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and R Bhanumathi on Wednesday asked the Defence Ministry to file within a week its rejoinder to the response of the officers on whose plea the AFT had passed the order.
The apex court on March 25 had stayed the March 2 decision of the AFT to quash the Army’s promotion policy.
Advocate Meenakshi Lekhi, appearing for several officers, submitted that all ranks of personnel from Colonel and above would be affected by the biased promotion policy.
She was appearing for the main petitioners including on whose plea the AFT had said that the 2009 Army promotion policy had resulted in preferential promotions to officers of select branches of the Army and hence should be scrapped.
Several other officers have intervened in the matter and senior advocates Harish Salve and Neela Gokhale are appearing for them.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh said the Ministry would file its rejoinder and sought adjournment as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was to appear in the matter, was busy in some other court.
Some of the officers, who were present in the court, said personnel of all combative division except infabtry and artillery, have joined the fight against the 2009 promotion policy.
The tribunal had found the policy to be violative of Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution.
The army officers had claimed that the policy, also known as ‘command exit promotion policy’, had adversely affected them and contended that it was “arbitrary” and highly skewed in favour of Infantry and Artillery, as compared to other branches of the Army.