The Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has asked the Indian Air Force (IAF) to consider the case of extension in service of Squadron Leader Ravi Khandelwal afresh after a remark of being argumentative in nature was expunged from his annual confidential report (ACR).
Khandelwal, a short service commissioned officer, had approached the AFT last year seeking setting aside of the ACR for carrying the adverse remark of “being argumentative in nature”. He alleged that he was not given extension in service due to this adverse ACR.
Khandelwal, an MBBS doctor posted at Kasauli, had submitted before the AFT that during his posting in Avadi, near Chennai, his first technical officer had issued an advisory in his confidential report: “Officer in argumentary [sic] in nature. He needs to improve upon himself and he can do it, if he wants to do it.” The confidential report was for the period from June 1, 2010, to May 22, 2011.
The initiating officer further endorsed the adverse remarks. He had submitted before the court that he
was denied extension in service due to these adverse remarks.
HT was the first paper to report the case on March 5, 2013.
On April 2, 2013, when the case was going on, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, who at that time was heading the Western Air Command, expunged the remarks. He opined that the remarks of first technical officer are out of sync with other assessors and forwarded the case of Khandelwal to the Air Force Headquarters.
Khandelwal has been working with the Air Force since April 25, 2008. He told the court that he “has always performed medical duties assigned to him as per the medical ethics” to the entire satisfaction of his “superiors”. Besides the “argumentative remark”, he said he was never counselled nor given any adverse professional remark.
Khandelwal had also filed a non-statutory complaint and statutory complaint with the Air Force authorities but he did not receive any communication regarding them.
The court comprising justice Vinod Kumar Ahuja and Air Marshal SC Mukul (retd) ruled that as the remark of being argumentative in nature is now expunged so the case must be considered in the departmental promotion committee (DPC) afresh and the order must be passed within three months.