New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) order to demote Lieutenant General N.K. Mehta of the Army Ordnance Corps (AOC) to the rank of Brigadier, on charges of concealment of the facts to the ministry.
The Lucknow bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal had on May 13, ordered the demotion of Lieutenant General Mehta, for reportedly manipulating his service record in connivance with Defence Ministry officials for a promotion.
The tribunal had nullified his promotion from Brigadier to Major General, creating an odd situation as he was already holding a rank of Lieutenant General, which is higher than Major General.
The tribunal had also asked Mehta to pay Rs 5 lakh as cost for concealing material facts, while imposing a Rs. 50 lakh fine on the Defence Ministry, Army headquarters and military secretary for failing to maintain a standard for promotion in the armed forces.
In 2012, Mehta had moved the AFT’s regional bench in Lucknow challenging his non-selection as Major General. The AFT allowed his plea and directed the Defence Ministry to consider promoting him as Major General. He was promoted in 2013.
Comprising of Justice DP Singh and Air Marshal Anil Chopra, the AFT bench had then held that the promotion of Lt Gen NK Mehta from the rank of Brigadier to Major General on the basis of a previous AFT order was not tenable due to concealment of facts from the court.