Case of Technical Equipment Officer Appointment Criteria Dispute

In a significant judgment by the Supreme Court of India, a dispute over the appointment criteria for Technical Equipment Officers in the Armed Forces has been resolved. The case involves Pankaj Negi, Deepak Kumar Mishra, and Rwmwi Borgoyary, who challenged their exclusion from the TEO positions. The ruling sheds light on the intricacies of the selection process and the importance of meeting the necessary qualifications for such roles.


  • The Appeals arise from the judgement of the Armed Forces Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi dated 08.08.2018.
  • The Tribunal dismissed the applications filed by the Appellants for quashing the order dated 23.03.2007, which declared them ineligible for appointment as Technical Equipment Officers (TEO).
  • Pankaj Negi, one of the Appellants, was enrolled in the Army Air Defence as Soldier Technical and was selected for the trade of Operation Fire Control while working as Havildar.
  • Deepak Kumar Mishra and Rwmwi Borgoyary, both enrolled in Army Air Defence as Soldier Technical, applied for Technical Equipment Officer (TEO) positions in AAD.
  • Deepak Kumar Mishra cleared Class I grade of his Technical Trade ‘Operation Fire Control’ (OFC) in 2009 and obtained various diplomas and certifications in radar technology, surveillance, electronic warfare, and equipment management from IGNOU and Cyberoam.
  • Rwmwi Borgoyary, promoted to Havildar, also applied for the TEO position and received diplomas in network administration and cyber security during his service.
  • Both appellants submitted representations to their Commanding Officer to consider them for the TEO position as they believed they met the eligibility criteria.
  • Their applications were dismissed, and they filed Original Applications before the Armed Forces Tribunal (the Tribunal), which were later dismissed.
  • The Tribunal’s decision was based on the Respondents’ contention that the eligibility criteria for the Special List (SL) category were laid out in a specific AG’s Branch/MP-2 letter dated 17.01.2007.

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  • Appellants cannot claim appointment to the post of TEO in Air Defence Branch without the qualification of Technical Instructor Fire Control (AD & FD).
  • Administrative powers were delegated to the Adjutant General (Army) to introduce new entry schemes and disciplines with no financial implications.
  • TEO (AAD) category was introduced per standing instructions by the Adjutant General (Army) in 2007.
  • Appellants applied to both TEO (AAD) category and PC (SL) category.
  • An error was made in selecting the Appellants for TEO (AAD) as they lacked the qualification of TIFC (AD & FD).
  • Appellants were not selected for the post of Record Officer due to lack of merit.
  • The Tribunal concluded that the Appellants were not entitled to seek parity with appointments made in error.
  • Instructions issued in 2007 prescribing additional qualifications for TEO post were deemed to be in addition to existing instructions from 1974.
  • The Appellants’ non-consideration for TEO appointment was not discriminatory as the two others appointed had the required qualifications.
  • The qualification of TIFC (AD & FD) is mandatory and involves specific training and experience.
  • Appellants were aware of the Instructions from 2007 and had participated in selections for Record Officer and TEO positions.

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  • Selection to the post of Technical Equipment Officer requires high standards and training
  • Trade of Operator Fire Control (OFC) is not a substitute for the qualification of Technical Instructor Fire Control (AD & FD)
  • Mistake in appointing ineligible persons does not entitle other ineligible persons to claim appointment.
  • There is no concept of negative equality under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
  • Appellants cannot claim appointment based on the benefit given to ineligible persons.
  • No direction can be given to perpetuate illegality.
  • Appeals dismissed.

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Case Number: C.A. No.-008986-008988 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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