Sunday, August 7, 2022

Supreme Court upholds Armed Forces Tribunal's refusal to reinstate Indian Navy Officer Cadet

The Supreme Court of India has refused to grant relief to an Officer Cadet of the Indian Navy who was reverted to his original rank and returned to his Unit from the Naval Academy where he was training to become a Commissioned Officer.

The Officer Cadet was originally a sailor in the ranks who was selected for a Commission for which he was training in the Naval Academy. He was, however, relegated twice for infractions such as possession of pornography, cigarettes and belongings of other Cadets. On one occasion, even a ‘seal’ of the government was found on him. After issuing him with Show Cause Notices twice, and finding no improvement in his behaviour, the Navy decided to revert him back to his service in the ranks without loss of seniority

The action of the Navy was challenged by him before the Armed Forces Tribunal which dismissed his case. Thereafter he challenged the verdict of the Tribunal by way of a direct statutory appeal to the Supreme Court.  

In the Supreme Court, it was averred that the principles of natural justice were not followed, and that, as per regulations, it was only the Central Government which could have ordered his reversion to the ranks.

Dismissing his appeal, the Supreme Court has held that the regulation cited by the sailor pertained to termination of service which the Navy did not resort to since he was only reverted back to his original service and cadre without terminating his services. The Court has observed that the Navy did not find him possessing the qualities as required by a Commissioned Officer and it had the full authority under law to take the action it had resorted to.

The judgment can be accessed here.

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