The principal bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), New Delhi, has stayed the transfer of judge advocate general (JAG) of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Commodore NK Sharma to the office of air office administration.
While acting as the JAG, Sharma was also the chief legal adviser of the air force. He was considered for the post of Air Vice-Marshal and his name was also recommended by the board.
However, his name was not approved by the Union government. As a result, the post is still vacant.
Sharma then filed a statutory complaint against his non-selection. He was working as the chief legal adviser with the office of the chief of air staff when he filed the statutory complaint.
The bench comprising justice Sunil Hali (retd) and Air Marshal JN Burma (retd) observed: "The petitioner has been attached vide order dated July 30 in the office of air office administration on the ground that there will be a conflict of interest if he continues there. This cannot be a ground for attachment. Every officer who may come and file legal proceedings cannot be removed from the post where he is working on the ground that it will result in conflict of interest."
The order added: "We, therefore, stay the order dated July 30 on the condition that the petitioner while functioning as the chief legal adviser will not deal with the file relating to his non-selection as the Air Vice-Marshal."
The AFT has also issued a notice to the Union government over Sharma's non-selection as Air Vice-Marshal for reply for September 10.