Armed Forces Tribunal

Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT): The Coram of Justice SVS Rathore (Judicial Member) and Air Marshal BBP Sinha (Administrative Member) dismissed an ex-hawaladar’s application seeking notional promotional benefits, with costs, holding that the same had no legal basis and on the ground of inordinate delay of around 19 years in approaching this Tribunal.

Applicant herein was enrolled in the Indian Army in 1980 and was discharged as a Havaldar in 1997 in low medical category. He rendered total 16 years and 07 months service, during which period he served in different fields including high altitude areas. The instant application was filed praying for a direction to respondents to grant him a notional promotion with all consequential benefits including re-fixation of pension with effect from 1997.

It was noted that the following steps had to be taken before revision of the applicant’s pension: (i) His discharge had to be set aside; (ii) He should be treated to be in service; (iii) He should be considered for promotion; and (iv) He must be granted pay of promotional post. Only after taking such steps, could his pension be revised. 

The Tribunal noted that there was a delay of 19 years, 11 months and 14 days in filing the instant application. Reliance was placed on the judgment in State of Uttaranchal v. Shiv Charan Singh Bhandari, (2013) 12 SCC 179 where it was held that anyone who sleeps over his right is bound to suffer, and thus a stale claim of promotional benefits must not be entertained.

It was observed that virtual prayer of the applicant was that he was wrongly discharged and was wrongly denied the continuity of service and also promotion in comparison to other similarly situated persons. It was opined that such type of frivolous petition, that too on the basis of a hypothetical argument, which has no legal basis must be discouraged and dealt with strictly.

In view of the above, the application was dismissed with cost of Rs. 5000.[Ex Hav (Clk) Govind Lal v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine AFT 1041, Order dated 04-04-2019]

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