DAINIK NATION BUREAU
The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has asked the Army to correct anomalies in the retirement age of Colonels and bring them on a par with similar ranks in the Air Force and the Navy.
The AFT Principal Bench, comprising Justice VK Shali and Lt Gen SK Singh (retd), said the anomalies needed to be removed. “We strongly feel the anomalies in the retirement age of Colonels in the Army in relation to their counterparts in the Air Force and the Navy, which have got created due to recent judgments, need to be removed at the earliest by passing a comprehensive order increasing the age of retirement of Army Colonels,” the order said.
Col Karunesh Kumar had moved the AFT to seek parity with IAF and Navy, where officers in the ranks of Group Captain and Captain (both equivalent to Colonel) serve till 56 years for age and not 54, as is the case with the Army.
If the government does not come up with a policy on its own, it could open floodgates of litigation apart from making a particular level of officials in the Army perennially dissatisfied. “Neither such dissatisfied officers would give their best, nor would respondents be able to extract optimum. Such a situation in the force that protects the nation and its sovereignty and integrity can be ill afforded,” the Bench observed.
It directed the respondents (Union of India) to increase the retirement age by two years for Colonels to 56 years to bring them on a par with their counterparts in the other two services. The Navy issued a letter dated October 14, 2015, to correct the anomaly.
“The Colonels who retired during pendency of their petitions be given consequential benefits,” the Bench said, adding that the direction be enforced before April 30.