O.A. No. 159 of 2014. Case: K. Ravindran Vs Union of India and Ors.. Armed Forces Tribunal

Case NumberO.A. No. 159 of 2014
CounselFor Appellant: V.K. Sathyanathan, Adv. and For Respondents: M. Rajendra Kumar, Senior Panel Counsel
JudgesS.S. Satheesachandran, Member (J) and J.N. Burma, Air Marshal, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Member (A)
IssueArmed Forces Tribunal Act 2007 - Section 14
Judgement DateJanuary 23, 2017
CourtArmed Forces Tribunal


S.S. Satheesachandran, Member (J), (Regional Bench, Kochi)

  1. The applicant, Shri K. Ravindran, an Ex-Master Chief Petty Officer (Writer II) in the Indian Navy, has filed this application under Section 14 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 (for short 'the Act') for quashing Annexure A11 order and to issue direction to the respondents to award him the rank of Honorary Sub Lieutenant w.e.f. 15.8.2010 with all consequential benefits.

  2. The applicant, who joined Indian Navy on 9.1.1983, after putting a service of 28 years, was released on 30.9.2010. During his service the applicant was awarded three commendations (Annexures A2 to A4). The applicant had been selected and appointed as Assistant Logistics Officer, in a vacancy of Lieutenant, which, according to him, accorded recognition to his honesty, integrity and professional competency. He was recommended for grant of Honorary Sub Lieutenant rank on the occasion of Independence Day 2010, but was not awarded that rank. Master Chief Petty Officers junior in service than the applicant with less marks based on the laid down weightage on most of the parameters fixed for consideration for grant of Honorary selection had been awarded such rank and, so, he moved a representation, Annexure A9, pointing out specifically the discrepancy through a comparative chart bringing out the points scored on the parameters by him and one of his juniors, viz. Shri Subhash Chandra Shukla. The applicant also submitted an appeal, Annexure A10, to the second respondent, which, however, was rejected under Annexure A11 stating that if the applicant had exercised the option of continuing in service, it would have given him an opportunity for promotion to the next rank and also to gain additional points for service over 25 years. The applicant again submitted a representation, Annexure A12, pointing out that he had been previously selected and appointed in the vacancy of Lieutenant and therefore, there was no justification in denying him the rank of Honorary Sub Lieutenant before his release from service. Annexure A11 order, by which his appeal was turned down, is impeached by the applicant contending that Sailors with less educational qualification than him had been granted Honorary rank considering only their sea service points. Sea service, according to the applicant, is not under the control of a Sailor, especially a Writer Sailor as there are relatively less billets available for Writers. Shortage of sea service points, according to the applicant, should not have been considered a predominant factor in awarding of rank of Honorary Sub Lieutenant as opportunity for such sea service is not in the hands of a sailor. The ratio fixed between Master Chief Petty Officers (Writer), Master Store Chief Petty Officers and Master Chief Petty Officers (Cook) in the grant of rank as Honorary Sub Lieutenant is questioned by the applicant contending that the existing proportionate vacancy provided to the Writer branch of Master Chief Petty Officers is illegal. Combining of writer and store branches together to make a common panel, where the requirements and duties of the officers are entirely different, for the grant of rank of Honorary Sub Lieutenant, according to the applicant, is incorrect. Without considering those aspects, Annexure A11 order was passed rejecting his appeal challenging the denial of grant of Honorary rank of Sub Lieutenant to him, is his case for setting aside Annexure A11 and to issue directions to the respondents to award him the rank of Honorary Sub Lieutenant w.e.f. 15.8.2010 with all monetary benefits.

  3. The respondents have filed a reply statement contending that since the applicant was low in inter se merits he could not be awarded the Honorary commission. The applicant was considered for awarding of Honorary commission on 15.8.2010 in Logistics 'A' (comprising Writer and Store Sailors), for which 13 vacancies were earmarked. Since the applicant was found 14th in the merit he was not awarded Honorary rank. Selection was made following the parameters and on the basis of inter se merits. The applicant being low in merit, placed on 14th in order of merit...

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