The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has quashed the army policy of November 10, 2006, which brought a disparity between the retiring age of Colonel (select) and Colonel (time scale) of the Army Medical Corps (non-technical) cadre. With this order, the Colonel (time scale) of the non-technical branch of the Army Medical Corps (AMC) can retire at the age of 57 years.
A Colonel (time scale) has been superseded for promotion from the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on the basis of merit and was promoted only after a service of considerable number of years.
Colonel Mohandas C, a Colonel (time scale) in the AMC (non-technical) officer cadre, was promoted to the Colonel rank in 2011. He submitted before the AFT that the age limit for compulsory retirement of officers in the rank of the Colonel (time scale) as well as the Colonel (select) in Director General of the Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS) cadre was 58, except for AMC (non-technical) where they retire at different ages.
He said both the ranks of Colonel (select) and Colonel (time scale) perform similar duties, wear same uniform and draw same salary. He contended that different retirement age manifestly discriminate between the homogenously situated officers’ in the same corps, branch, date of commission and performing similar and totally identical functions, as they are treated unequally, which was against Article 14 and 16 of the constitution.
The bench headed by justice Surinder Singh Thakur observed that the issue had been under consideration of the government since October 2014 and might take some time whereas the applicant was retiring on April 30 this year. While granting relief to Colonel Mohandas, the bench ruled that he would retire at the age of 57 years.