‘The process undertaken by the respondents in taking decision to appoint Air Marshal Rajvir Singh as DGMS (Army) does not stand judicial scrutiny.’
The Supreme Court, setting aside the appointment of Air Marshal Rajvir Singh as DGMS (Army), has directed the Central Government to appoint Lt. Gen. Manomoy Ganguly in that position.
The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan ordered thus in a writ petition filed by Lt. Gen. Ganguly.
In an earlier round of litigation in the matter of Lt. Gen. Ganguly, the Supreme Court had directed the Raksha Mantri to consider as to who would be entitled to the appointment to the post of DGMS (Army). As the minister decided that the post be manned by a person other than him, Lt. Gen. Ganguly had approached the apex court again by filing a miscellaneous application. During the pendency of the said application, Air Marshal Rajvir Singh was appointed as DGMS (Army). Thus another writ petition was filed challenging this appointment.
The court said that this appointment is contrary to the policy guidelines dated July 10, 1992, which permit such a lateral shifting 'only in exceptional circumstances'. While setting aside the appointment, the bench said: “Process undertaken by the respondents in taking decision to appoint Air Marshal Rajvir Singh as DGMS (Army) does not stand judicial scrutiny.”
The court added: “We state at the cost of repetition that the parameters of caliber, competence, attributes, skill and experience are to be looked into, but with the objective to find out the 'suitability of a person'. Guidelines dated July 10, 1992 do not stipulate the criteria on 'comparative merit' and it is not treated as 'selection' post. It uses the expression 'suitability'. Above all 'inter se seniority' is also an important criteria mentioned in the said policy. It is for this reason; this Court had categorically stated that if the senior most person is competent to hold the post he is to be given preference.”
While directing the government to appoint Lt.Gen. Ganguly as DGMS (Army), the court observed: “It is not the case of the respondents that the petitioner is not suitable for the post of DGMS (Army). After all, he has not been rejected on this ground. It is also an admitted fact that he is the senior-most person.”