BSF Foul Played In Denying Promotion To Commandant Pilot: Delhi HC Directs Refixing Of Seniority With Consequential Financial Benefits
The Delhi High Court recently held that the Border Security Force (BSF – Respondents) have foul played in denying promotion to the Commandant Pilot (Petitioner) which he deserved.
The Division Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna observed that respondents had failed to satisfy as to on what premise in the second advertisement issued for appointment to the post of Senior Operations Officer-DIG, the Recruitment Rules of 2011 were relaxed and the requirement of having 2000 flying hours on multi-engine aircraft or helicopters was reduced to 1529 hours and requirement of flying 1000 hours on BSF type of aircraft was omitted.
Advocate S.C. Malhotra & Mr. Kunal Kishore appeared for the Petitioner and Advocate Jaswinder Singh appeared for the Respondents.
Going by the background of the case, the petitioner was Ex Indian Air Force Officer (Helicopter Pilot), and after his relieving from Indian Air Force, assumed charge in BSF. Claiming eligibility to the rank of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) subject to his fulfilling requisite conditions under Recruitment Rules (RR), the petitioner sought for waiver of condition of two years of residency. Subsequently, upon advertisement by the BSF, the petitioner applied for the post of Senior Operations Officer – DIG and waited for waiver of his deficient residency period.
Later, when a similar advertisement was published by the BSF for the same post of Senior Operations Officer-DIG, where the conditions for the said post were changed, the petitioner alleged it to be in violation of Recruitment Rules and claimed that same had been done to accommodate Air Commandant Sanjay Sharma (Retd.). Pursuant thereto, the petitioner was granted waiver of 30 days residency and was empaneled for promotion to the post of DIG. However, in the meanwhile, the petitioner was made to undergo various medical tests and his claim of promotion to the rank of DIG was rejected. Hence, he approached the High Court challenging the wrongful denial of his promotion to the rank of DIG.
After considering the arguments, the High Court found that there was no requirement of going through any medical fitness test for promotion from the post of Commandant to the post of DIG.
After going through the discharge slip issued by the Moolchand hospital, the High Court found that the patient was suffering from sudden weakness in the left side of body with tightening of limbs. Whereas, after going through the discharge slip issued by the Army Hospital (R&R) Delhi Cantt, the Petitioner was assessed as clinically fit for duty with no deficits.
“It is an admitted case of both the sides that prior to the year 2013, in the annual medical checkups of petitioner held in the year 2011 and 2012, he has been declared Shape-1. The diseases like seizure, diabetes etc. cannot be hidden for a long time. Moreover, respondents have not placed any document on record to support their claim of petitioner’s prolonged illness for six years”, added the Court.
The Court noted that on the directions of the respondents, the petitioner had appeared before the Medical Board and FHQ Hospital, wherein he was declared Shape-1, which was approved by IG Medical. When pursuant to his treatment in Moolchand Hospital and RR Hospital, petitioner had already appeared before the Medical Board, the respondents issued another direction to undergo second Medical Board, which was highly unacceptable since the Medical Board constituted earlier was valid for one year.
As far as eligibility for the post of DIG was concerned, the Division Bench found that the petitioner was having a total of 26 years of Group 'A' service as against a total requirement of 20 years of Group 'A' service as stipulated in the Rules and had served in BSF in the rank of Commandant Pilot for a total period of 04 years 04 months including a period of 02 years 04 months of deputation and 01 year 11 months on re-employment and also the condition of one year’s “residency” was waived off by the respondents. Hence, the petitioner met with the eligibility criteria for promotion to the rank of DIG.
Accordingly, the High Court directed the respondents to pass necessary orders promoting the petitioner against the vacancy for the year 2013-14 from the date when he was declared Shape-1 pursuant to his Medical Assessment on March 3, 2014 and refix his seniority and grant consequential financial benefits resultantly.
Cause Title: WG CDR C PADMANABHAN (RETD.), COMMANDANT PILOT, BSF v. COMMANDANT (PERSONNEL), BORDER SECURTIY FORCE & ORS.