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An Air Force rule on promotions came up for hearing at the court of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar on March 28, in which a person, Chaman Lal, working as a sergeant in Indian Air Force (IAF) challenged the IAF’s decision to not promote him to the post of junior warrant officer on the ground that he was disabled.

In an order that could have far reaching effects, the bench directed the Air Force to consider the due promotion for the applicant.

The premise on which Sergeant Lal submitted his claim was that the disability of his leg was caused through a surgery after a malignant growth was found and had to be surgically removed. Lal claimed that this disability was in no way hindering his performance at his job.

Explaining this, Lal said that the job profile of a junior warrant officer is a deskbound and can be done without having to walk around.

The bench asked the counsel for respondent IAF why the petitioner cannot be promoted.

To which the counsel for the IAF said that Air Force rules do not allow him to be promoted. The counsel added that the service of the petitioner got over in 2007, but the Air Force had extended it for another 12 years.

This too was challenged by Lal, who said that this was not true. He said his service was till his superannuation at age 57. He is now only 48.

The counsel for the IAF was not ready for this. He checked with the officer present in court and confirmed that the petitioner was right; he has service till 2026.

Lal also pointed out that people much junior to him have been promoted and that his services have been overlooked.

The court order said: “In the course of the hearing certain suggestions came up. We therefore direct the respondent counsel to ask the respondent to consider the promotion of petitioner from the post of sergeant to the post of junior warrant officer.

The matter is listed again after two weeks.

—By India Legal Bureau

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