HC upholds demotion of top CRPF officer

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court Wednesday upheld an order by Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, demoting Shamsher Singh Sandhu from the rank of Inspector General to Deputy Inspector General of paramilitary CRPF on grounds of fitness.
On Feb 15 last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued an order (G-II-4/13-PERS-DA-1), divesting Sandhu of his charge as IG (operation) Kashmir for not having mandatory ‘SHAPE1’ medical category.
Subsequently, on March 7 last, another order (T-IX-2/2013-PERS-DA-1) was passed by the Ministry, transferring him at the Office of Special DG, J&K Zone CRPF Jammu.
However, Sandhu filed a petition in Jammu and Kashmir High Court seeking quashing of the Ministry orders.
“…the promotion order of (SS Sandhu) was revoked in consequences of determination of his medical category as Shape 2 (permanent). The petitioner has not challenged the determination of the medical category. Since possession of SHAPE-1 medical category is a mandatory requirement for promotion in the CRPF, and the petitioner did not possess the same, his promotion order has rightly been revoked as being wrong,” a single bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said, dismissing petition by Sandhu as without any merit.
In the over 30-page long judgment, the court dismissed the petition along with the connected CMPs and vacated all the interim directions in the case.
The question that falls for consideration, the bench said, was whether the court in exercise of its discretion would quash the impugned orders.
“The natural consequences of such a course would be resorting an illegal order, make the petitioner, an officer of the CRPF with medical category SHAPE 2 (permanent) as eligible and entitled to promotion,” Justice Magrey said, observing that it would be totally against the rules governing the field and would rather unsettle the relevant rules not only in the CRPF, but all the Central paramilitary forces, who are governed by the same set of rules.
“Though the counsel for the petitioner has sought to rake the issue of malice and mala fides, but, given the demeanour of the petitioner that he has not only mislead the Home Secretary, but has suppressed and concealed material facts from this court, the plea of mala fides and malice has to be taken with a pinch of salt.”
In any case, the court said, no such particulars have been supplied in the petition to establish mala fides.
While Assistant Solicitor General of India S A Makroo represented MHA, Senior Advocate R A Jan pleaded the case on behalf of the CRPF officer.
As per advocate Makroo, a CRPF officer is promoted only if he is certified as ‘SHAPE 1’, but Sandhu was found ineligible for promotion by the team doctors.
‘S’ stands for Psychological, ‘H’ for Hearing, ‘A’ for Appendages, ‘P’ for Physical capacity, ‘E’ for Eye Sight.
It is sated that the principal behind such a system is that unless the officer of the Forces are physically fit in all the respects, they would not be able discharge their duties effectively.