The defence ministry’s delaying the army promotion board results for the ranks of major general and lieutenant general may rob many deserving officers of the chance to command a corps, as several may retire by then.
“The initial delay was because of the general elections and then waiting for the new government to settle down; but the present delay is unexpected. The waiting period is being used for manipulating the results so that candidates lower in the order of merit are promoted,” said a major general awaiting the results.
He added that the delay was bringing down the morale of the waiting officers. Some of them now plan to move the principal bench of Armed Forces Tribunal in New Delhi to force the military secretary branch and the defence ministry to act fast.
In April, the army had constituted a special selection board for promoting major generals to lieutenant generals. There are 17 vacancies for lieutenant general in the command and staff streams and 65 officers were considered for these.
Sources in the army headquarters said the military secretary’s branch had completed the formalities at the army’s end and forwarded the results to the ministry in early May. After okay from the ministry, these are put up before the appointment committee of the cabinet, following which the results are declassified and the officers promoted based on seniority and merit.
The officers approved for command stream will go on to command a corps, while the rest will be posted to staff appointments in the army headquarters, static formations, or chief-of-staff office of commands.
The results are delayed by at least a month and, are unlikely to be cleared for another month. The waiting is more painful for the officers who are approved in the command stream but may not have at least three years of remaining service on the day the board results are declared to be able to command a corps as general-officer-commanding (GOC). The results for promoting brigadiers to major general also are delayed. This board met in the first week of May to decide 45 vacancies of major general, for which 125 brigadiers were considered. Of these officers too, many will retire if the ministry takes long to de-classify the results.