Rejection of Discharge from Air Force on the basis of Skill Grade ‘A’ is arbitrary, Airman allowed to Join Group ‘A’ Post : Armed Forces Tribunal

Rejection of Discharge from Air Force

Law Point:  Rejection of Discharge from Air Force on the basis of Skill Grade ‘A’ is arbitrary, Airmen is allowed to Join Group ‘A’ Post.

Case Title: Sgt Samant Singh Sengar Versus Union of India & Ors decided on 27 Jul 2021

Brief of Case: The applicant, who is presently serving as a Sgt (Air Frame Fitter) with the Indian Air Force, upon being denied ‘No Objection Certificate’ for joining the post of Assistant Professor (History) in Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission, has filed the present OA seeking discharge from service and to quash the AFO 33/2017 as arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional.

The applicant further states that on 12.12.2017, he came across an advertisement by Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission for recruitment of Assistant Professor Exam-2017 with pay scale of Rs. 15600-39100 + AGP 6000/-. He further states that he came to know that on 08.12.2017 a new AFO i.e. AFO 33/2017 has been issued which has added an additional eligibility criterion for applying for Gp-A posts in civil i.e. in addition to 07 years service, a minimum of professional skill grade-‘A’ will also be required.

In view of the fact that he had already completed 7 years of service, he attempted to apply for online permission on Air Force Record Office (AFRO) website (permissions are required to be obtained online only), but the same was not accepted with the comment on screen that ‘you are not permitted to apply for the civil post due to your current skill grade vide AFO 33/2017’. 

The applicant also attempted to obtain permission through a normal application to his Commanding Officer dated 19.01.2018, but the same was rejected at Section Incharge level itself, on grounds that the applicant does not possess skill grade ‘A’ as per current policy. Since the applicant was not allowed to apply for getting permission from IAF to appear in the said exam, till the very end, therefore, he applied directly for the said exam, without permission from the IAF. Subsequently, the applicant successfully qualified in the examination and on 11.08.2018, he was declared selected for the post of Assistant Professor (History).

Thereafter, he submitted application to issue of NOC and discharge from service which was rejected. He further drew the attention of the Bench to the manual application of the applicant dated 19.01.2018 annexed to the OA, addressed to his Commanding Officer, seeking permission to appear for the said exam. The application was turned down by the Warrant Officer incharge of his section at his level itself, with his signatures on the application, stating that since the applicant is not possessing Skill Grade-‘A’, therefore, he is not eligible to apply for the said permission to appear in the exam.

The Hon’ble AFT considered the entire evidences and opined that being a case of permanent low medical category i.e. A4G4 (P) has no future in IAF and he will be forced to retire without any promotion or extension of service after three years in 2024, when his 20 years initial engagement in service will be over. Thus while the IAF will not lose much by releasing the applicant three years before the engagement period, however, the applicant will lose a lot if he is not released because he will retire as a Sgt in his early forties and lose the opportunity to accept appointment as a Group ‘A’ officer who could retire in his sixties. Additionally, the applicant will have no residue age left to appear in any competitive exams in future.

In view of the aforesaid, The Hon’ble Armed Forces Tribunal directed the Respondents (IAF Authorities)  to issue ‘No Objection Certificate’ in favour of the applicant to be discharged from service by 30.07.2021, for joining as Assistant Professor (History) in Madhya Pradesh Government.

Read Order.PDF (25 Pages)

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Sunil Kumar
2 years ago

Very Good Judgement.