New Delhi: Further opening up promotional prospects for senior officers, mainly from the fighting arms such as infantry and armoured corps, a military court has asked the defence ministry to consider general cadre Major General-rank officers in the staff stream also to be considered for promotion to the ranks of Lieutenant General.
As per existing policy, Army officers approved and promoted as Major Generals in the ‘Staff Only’ stream from the rank of Brigadier are not considered for further promotion to the rank of Lt Gen, but officers from the non-general cadre proved in the same manner are considered for the promotion to the three-star rank.
A plea was filed in the Armed Forces Tribunal by one Maj Gen KA Muthanna for his non empanelment to the rank of Lt Gen and defence ministry’s ‘Two Stream Policy’, which states that Major Generals of general cadre (Staff Only) stream are not considered for further promotion to the rank of Lt Gen, while the Major Generals in all other streams have got their avenues open, thereby creating a ‘class within class’. The officer had stated that the policy was in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution as it was benefiting only non-general cadre officers.
Muthanna, an infantry officer, was promoted to the rank of Major General from Brigadier in 2012 in the Staff Only stream and has been fighting to get back into the command and staff stream over the last four years. Under the command and staff stream, officers get promoted to the rank of Major General and Lt Gen and get to command fighting formations like a Corps or a Division whereas the Staff stream officers get to do staff duties only.
Senior military lawyer Major SS Pandey said when Brigadiers of the general cadre (Infantry, Armoured Corps, Mechanised Infantry, etc.) are screened for promotion to the rank of Major General, they are split into two streams based on merit. The top of the selected lot go into the ‘Command and Staff’, while the remaining gets into ‘Staff Only’.