Armed Forces Tribunal: Stick to the choice of United Nations Mission or Staff College | Chandigarh News
“It can be seen that given the rotation frequency in various UN missions to which the country subscribes, there are always some selections that take place just before the DSSC examinations or in the interim between the administration of the examination and the declassification of the results. Notwithstanding the importance and relevance of the DSSC course in an officer’s career, it remains the prerogative of the individual officer to make the choice and demonstrate his/her willingness/unwillingness and then act on the choice made,” the AFT held.
The main bank with justice Rajendra MenonChairman and Lieutenant General PM Hariz, Administrative Member of AFT Delhi, passed these orders while rejecting a motion submitted by Lt. Col. Ashutosh Singh. The Arbitral Tribunal also found that the DSSC/DSTC entrance exams provide a very unique, fair and impartial platform for officials in the army to compete on pure merit.
To maintain this, it is important that minimal exceptions are made to established guidelines, the court noted. The applicant was drafted into the army in December 2007. In September 2018, he was shortlisted for an officer selection interview for the UN mission and had to demonstrate his readiness. During this time he took the DSSC entrance exam from September 10th to 15th, 2018 and had already declared his willingness to serve at the UN.
On September 25, 2018 he was selected for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). On November 20, 2018, the DSSC exam result was announced and he was nominated to take the DSSC-75 course scheduled to start in June 2019. He immediately expressed his unwillingness for the UN deployment and submitted a formal request through the chain of command on November 24, 2018. According to the complainant, he was informed by Army Headquarters that since the DSSC course in June 2019 would begin, go to UNMISS and be returned early.
Upon reaching UNMISS, he applied for early repatriation, but this was denied in April 2019. As a result, he remained in the mission area until December 28, 2019, when he was eventually repatriated. On his return, his plea for a re-nomination for the DSSC court was denied, after which he had approached the AFT. He had asked for instructions from the army authorities to accept the proposal submitted on September 27, 2020 and, based on it, to issue the necessary orders to nominate the applicant for the 78th course, which starts from June this year on the basis of a previous selection.
After hearing the plea, the AFT found that other similarly placed officers had elected to show their willingness and had been given an 18-month ban. Therefore, any exemption of the complainant at this stage would be grossly unfair to those officials. Between his selection in September 2018 and his resignation in November 2018, the complainant had completed his pre-dispatch documentation and drug investigation. It is important that the Army Headquarters had already processed and received the approval and tickets for the applicant’s deployment in the intervening two months.
Given the different implications of canceling the Applicant’s approved deployment and processing the deployment of a new candidate, Army Headquarters’ stance in rejecting the Applicant’s withdrawal request is justified and we stand by that decision. The court ruled that the rejection of the complainant’s application for early repatriation was also justified given the fact that the army command applied the existing repatriation policy uniformly and rejected similar applications by other officers.