After the Armed Forces Tribunal ordered that even lower medical officers should be considered for elevation, the Indian Army considered such officers and nine of them have made it to the rank of Colonel from Lieutenant Colonel.

On September 21 this year, Principal Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal, these officers of the rank of Lt Col were reconsidered by a selection board for promotion to the next higher rank of Colonel.

“As per the result of said selection board processing declassified two days ago, all of those 9 officers except one have been declared fit for promotion and it is expected that now the promotion order for their physical assumption of the higher rank will follow soon,” their counsel Colonel Indra Sen Singh told .

The Armed Forces Tribunal had allowed a bunch of 17 petitions filed by army officers of the ranks of Colonel and Lt Colonel claiming promotion to the rank of Brigadier and Colonel, respectively.

These petitioners were in a promotable low medical category with certain employability restrictions such as not being posted to high altitude areas that are areas above 9000 feet.

On the basis of their record of service, a duly constituted Selection Board held in March 2021 had found these officers fit for promotion to the next higher rank, but the Special Review Medical Board (SRMB) subsequently held in June 2021 had arbitrarily declared them unfit for promotion, despite the positive recommendation of a Medical board comprising of the concerned specialists having declared them fit for promotion subject to the certain employability restrictions and despite all the superior officers of these officers having constantly assessed these officers fit for promotion.

The decision to not promote these officers was primarily based on a note dated January 7 2021 by the then Defence Ministry, which “advised” the Army not to promote low medical category officers with employability restrictions irrespective of their promotable medical category under the existing policy.
The note was issued without amending the existing promotion policy which allowed such low medical category officers to be promoted and suitably employed in higher ranks commensurate to their medical category and the employability restrictions placed by the relevant Medical Board.
The special Medical review board did not record any reason while declaring these officers unfit for promotion.

In most of the cases, the injury or disease which made the officers a low medical category (LMC) case was either caused or aggravated by their military service.

The Armed Forces Tribunal had set aside the SRMB Proceedings whereby these 17 officers were declared unfit for promotion and had directed the army to re-constitute a fresh SRMB to reconsider their cases on the basis of policy which was in force upto 2020, without taking into account the Note dated 07 Jan 2021 issued by the DMA.

The tribunal had further directed that while reconsidering these officers for promotion the SRMB shall be guided by the policy followed upto the year 2020 for promotion. (ANI)