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SC dismisses plea challenging Suhag's appointment as Army's Eastern Command chief in 2012

twitter-logoPTI | March 1, 2019 | Updated 21:02 IST

(Eds: Updates from judgement) New Delhi, Mar 1 (PTI) The Supreme Court Friday dismissed the appeal of an army officer challenging the appointment of Lieutenant Generals Dalbir Singh Suhag and Sanjiv Chachra as heads of Eastern and Northern Commands in 2012. Lt General Suhag had later succeeded General Bikram Singh as Army chief on July 31, 2014 and retired on December 31, 2016. A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta upheld the decision, delivered on September 6, 2013, of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) dismissing the plea of Lt Gen Ravi Dastane against the promotion of Suhag and Charcha. "The AFT dismissed the OA (original application) on the ground that the decision to appoint the third and fourth respondents (Suhag and Charcha) as Army Commanders was made on the basis of a comparative study of merit of all the officers in the zone of consideration and that no prejudice was caused to the appellant (Dastane). "The AFT held that the ACC approved the appointment of the third and fourth respondents as Army Commanders following the recommendation of the Ministry of Defence and that the procedure stipulated for appointments to the post was duly followed," the apex court said in its judgement. Dastane had referred to the letter of October 20, 1986 saying that it indicated that the appointment of Army Commanders is to be done "by selection and not on the basis of seniority". "We have come to the conclusion that the submissions which have been urged on behalf of the appellant are lacking in merit. The appellant as well as the third and fourth respondents have since retired from service. The third respondent retired from service as COAS," the apex court said. It said the appeal of Dastane was admitted for hearing by this court on October 13, 2014, after the officer has retired on September 30, 2014. "In order to render finality to the grievance which has been raised before this court, we have addressed the challenge on merits and have not found any substance in it," the bench said while dismissing the appeal. As per the case, on March 22, 2012, the then Army chief V K Singh had examined a proposal for filling up vacancies in two posts of Army Commander which were to arise on June 1, 2012 on the impending retirement of Lieutenant General S R Ghosh, GOC-in-C, Western Command and the appointment of Lieutenant General Bikram Singh, GOC-in-C, Eastern Command on his appointment as the Chief of Army Staff on May 31, 2012. The names of seven officers were in the zone of consideration for the two posts and Dastane was placed at number three. Lt Gen Dalbir Singh and Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra were high in the seniority list and were appointed. PTI SJK SA

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