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Promotions in Force Under Scanner as Army Brigadier Nearly Misses Chance Over False Allegations

The incident came to light when the Brigadier moved the AFT, demanding he be promoted. The principal bench of the AFT in New Delhi then upheld the MoD's decision and dismissed the officer's petition earlier this month. (PTI Image)

The incident came to light when the Brigadier moved the AFT, demanding he be promoted. The principal bench of the AFT in New Delhi then upheld the MoD's decision and dismissed the officer's petition earlier this month. (PTI Image)

While discussing the promotion for each candidate, a member of the board had reportedly mentioned the allegations against a Brigadier by his wife, leading to other members allotting low VJ marks to the Brigadier, thus putting him out of contention.

A Brigadier in the Indian Army almost missed his promotion to the rank of Major General after a selection board in 2018 awarded him low Value Judgement (VJ) points over allegations of domestic violence and extramarital affairs, revealed a judgment by the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). However, the allegations were later found to be false.

VJ points are marks awarded to Army personnel during promotions and account for only 5 marks out of a total of 100, whereas the remaining 95 are quantified through other parameters like courses attended by the personnel, etc. In the midst of tough competition during the promotions, it is often VJ points that become the deciding factor and indiscrimination while awarding these points have come to the light once again.

The selection board in question was evaluating 24 Brigadiers for six vacancies in the rank of Major General in the Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (EME) corps in 2018, reported The Indian Express. The board comprised of the then Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat as chairman and Vice Chief of Army Staff and all General Officers Commanding-in-Chief as members.

While discussing the promotion for each candidate, a member of the board had reportedly mentioned the allegations against a Brigadier by his wife, leading to other members allotting low VJ marks to the Brigadier, thus putting him out of contention. This move benefitted another Brigadier, who surpassed him by the points and went up one position, hence, getting recommended for the promotion.

The proceedings of the board were then taken up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), who noticed the anomaly and asked Army headquarters to submit evidence of the allegations made against the officer and if any action was taken against him. It was then revealed that no Court of Inquiry has been held against the Brigadier with a pseudonymous complaint being filed against him with no evidence. It was further revealed that the wife of the officer gave a written statement stating that she had never filed such a complaint against him.

The MoD was then under the impression that the pseudonymous complaint was made to mislead the selection board and negatively affect the chances of promotion of the officer. Following this, though no changes were made by the board, the MoD changed the result and the Brigadier was approved for promotion, and the officer who had jumped up one place was not approved.

The incident came to light when the Brigadier moved the AFT, demanding he be promoted. The principal bench of the AFT in New Delhi then upheld the MoD's decision and dismissed the officer's petition earlier this month.

In its judgment on February 11 this year, the Supreme Court had ordered that no officer can be overlooked for empanelment for higher rank merely on the basis of VJ marks awarded to him. A bench comprising of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta ordered that a fresh promotion selection board be held for two retired Brigadiers for the rank of Major General.


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