The Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) set aside the promotion of Brig T Parshad, former deputy judge advocate general (DJAG) of Central Command, to the rank of major general on Friday.
He was to take over as the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the army, which is the legal branch of the force.
Parshad was reportedly posted as additional officer in the JAG branch of Central Command after his promotion was stayed in the case earlier on July 31.
The profile of Brig Parshad was added for consideration in the promotion board at the last moment after he got a favourable order of improvement of his three annual confidential reports (ACRs). The promotion board was held on October 19, 2012.
Alleging manipulation in the selection board proceedings, Brig Dinkar Adeeb and Brig PK Sharma, DJAGs of Eastern and Northern Commands, respectively, had alleged that their junior, Brig Parshad, was granted out-of-turn relief by expunging some of his ACRs hastily on the eve of the selection board and his name was considered with an improved profile resulting in his empanelment and supersession of seniors.
During the arguments, counsels for Adeeb and Sharma pointed out that according to an Army policy of 2009, profiles of officers were to be frozen five days prior to the selection board and changes could not be introduced just prior to the board.
The army, however, submitted before the AFT that it was not practically possible to follow the five-day freeze policy and also that there were file notings made on October 12, 2012, which reflected that Brig Parshad was to be granted relief.
But the AFT bench, comprising Justice VK Ahuja and Lt Gen HS Panag (retd), ruled that file notings had no value till an order in the name of the president is passed and also that it was mandatory to follow the laid down cut-off date to eliminate arbitrariness, as was also held by the Supreme Court.
"The central government and Brig Parshad have been granted leave to appeal in this case," said Capt Sandeep Bansal (retd), counsel for the central government.
AFT criticises army
The AFT has also criticised the army for making the statement that Brig Parshad would have made it to the next rank even without the relief in his ACRs, reminding that it was only the selection board which could assess it. The AFT has directed that a fresh board may be conducted without taking into account the improved profile of Brig Parshad.