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SC issues notice on Centre’s plea against AFT’s order on DGMS

SC issues notice on Centre’s plea against AFT’s order on DGMS

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued notice on a plea of the Centre challenging the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) order restraining it from filling up the post of Director General Medical Services (Army). The Armed Forces Tribunal had quashed the appointment of a Lieutenant General as the Director General Medical Services (DGMS) holding that his selection as DGMS (Army) was arbitrary and dis-criminatory.

The AFT had also set aside the findings of the Review Promotion Board of Maj Gen Manomoy Ganguly in March 2017 which had not found him sufficiently high in merit for the rank of Lt General.

A vacation bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Mohan M Shantanagoudar took note of the appeal of the Ministry of Defence against the order of the tribunal restraining it to fill up the post of DGMS (Army) by the officer of its choice.

“In the meanwhile, pleadings shall be completed. Status quo, existing as on today, shall remain in force until further orders. Since we are informed that Lt General U K Sharma of the Research and Referral Hospital, is officiating as Director General Medical Services (Army), he shall continue till the next date of hearing.

“Needless to say, in the event of dismissal of the appeal (of the Centre), the respondent (Ganguly) would be considered for appointment to the post of DGMS (Army), without insisting on minimum of one year service,” the apex court said.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Ministry of Defence, assailed the AFT order and said the Army worked on “certain principles” and seniority alone cannot be the sole criteria for selection of an officer as the DGMS (Army).

Seniority and suitability are to be considered at the time of appointment, Venugopal said, adding, “Army decides. They have principles. The post in question is of a nature where extensive experience is must, as the job is to ensure spontaneous medical facility on the war front. Someone without adequate experience cannot be considered.”

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Major General Manomoy Ganguly, said “A person who is a junior to me has been appointed. As far as seniority is concerned, there was no dispute. My file was not even sent for consideration”.

He said that a junior person will be appointed if the stay was not granted.

The court then said that no one will be appointed until the matter is decided by it and in the meantime, Lt General U K Sharma, the current head of DGMS (Army), shall remain in office.

The court also said if the appeal of the Centre is dismissed, then Ganguly would be considered for appointment to the post, without insisting on minimum of one year service.

Earlier, Ganguly had moved the AFT alleging that rules had been flouted in the proceedings of the board and consequently he had not been approved for the higher rank despite being eligible.

He had averred in his petition before the AFT that his non-empanelment for the rank of Lieutenant General in his Review Special Promotion Board in the Army Medical Corps was due to low figurative assessment in the board, comprising Chief of the Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Naval Staff.

Source: PTI
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