Case of Promotion Dispute: Surgeon Rear Admiral vs. Armed Forces Tribunal

In a significant legal battle over a promotion dispute, the case of Surgeon Rear Admiral against the Armed Forces Tribunal was brought before the Supreme Court. The dispute centered around the application of Navy Order 02/2009 to Confidential Reports, affecting the promotion prospects of the concerned individual. The Supreme Court’s judgment in this case has far-reaching implications for similar cases in the future, setting a precedent for the interpretation of regulations governing promotions within the armed forces.


  • By the order dated 02.09.2011, the statutory complaint was partially resolved in favor of the Appellant.
  • The Appellant was dissatisfied with the partial redressal and filed O.A. No.19/2011 before the Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench, Mumbai.
  • The Tribunal dismissed the appeal stating that the Appellant did not exhaust all available remedies under the Regulation.
  • No malice or bias was found in the Confidential Reports by the officers concerned, as per the Tribunal’s opinion.
  • The ACR for the year 2008, initiated by Brigadier G.S. Manchanda, did not show any bias according to the Tribunal.
  • The Appellant retired as Surgeon Rear Admiral on 31.05.2012 without being promoted to Surgeon Vice Admiral.
  • The Appellant filed a statutory complaint seeking various reliefs related to ACRs prior to ICR-2007 and ACR-2008 for promotion to the next rank.
  • The Appeals arose from the rejection of the statutory complaint by the Armed Forces Tribunal.
  • The Appellant challenged the validity of the SAO No.8/S/91 of the Army Order regarding Confidential Reports.
  • She alleged that her ACRs for the years 2006-2009 were not properly recorded.
  • Brigadier G.S. Manchanda initiated the ACR for 2008, causing the Appellant to fear bias in assessment.
  • She requested re-assessment of the 2007 Interim and 2008 Annual ACRs considering the past five years’ reports.
  • The Appellant contended that Brigadier G.S. Manchanda’s reports were biased as he was her Initiating Officer.

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  • The Appellant was found not suitable for promotion after a review board considered her revised profile.
  • The Navy Order (Spl.) 02/2009 applies only to Confidential Reports initiated after 01.01.2010.
  • Clause 65 of the Navy Order prohibits DGAFMS/DGMS from making further endorsements once included in the main channel of reporting.
  • The ACRs for 2006 and 2009 were considered technically invalid based on the Navy Order 02/2009, which cannot have retrospective operation.
  • The officer cannot review his own assessment as it would be judging his own cause.
  • Instances of reporting officers recusing themselves from self-moderation and instances where certain reporting officers moderated their own assessments were noted.
  • Navy Order (Spl.) 02/2009 mandates that DGAFMS/DGMS cannot make further endorsements if they were part of the main channel of reporting.
  • Retrospective application of Navy Order (Spl.) 02/2009 was contended to be necessary to rectify practices against basic tenets of law.
  • The Tribunal’s decision not to interfere with the application of Navy Order (Spl.) 02/2009 to Confidential Reports initiated prior to 01.01.2010 was upheld.
  • Examination of ACRs from 2006 and 2009 concluded that even if technically valid, the Appellant would not have been promoted due to comparative merit.
  • The Appellant would not benefit even if the endorsements made by the reporting officer for CRs of 2006 and 2009 are disregarded.
  • The Tribunal’s stance that no prejudice was caused to the Appellant by applying Navy Order (Spl.) 02/2009 was deemed correct.
  • Violation of every provision does not warrant court interference unless the affected person demonstrates prejudice caused by such violation.

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  • Box Grading for 2006 awarded by DGAFMS in ACR was expunged as technically invalid.
  • Numerical Grading for 2008 by Senior Technical Officer and DGAFMS in ACR was found inconsistent.
  • Assessment, including Box Grading by Director General Medical Services in ACR 2009, was technically invalid.
  • Appellant not suitable for promotion to Surgeon Vice Admiral due to low merit positions in 2009 promotion boards.
  • Statutory relief granted for ICR 2006 due to inconsistent Box Grading awarded by Senior Reviewing Officer.
  • Delay in processing statutory complaint, violating Army Regulation 364 on time frame for complaint disposal.
  • Numerical Grading in ICR 2009 by DGAFMS found inconsistent with established profile.
  • Invalid endorsements by Surgeon Vice Admiral V.K. Singh as DGAFMS amounting to moderation of own assessment.

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Case Number: C.A. No.-008896-008897 / 2012

Click here to read/download original judgement

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