An issue that has split the 1.13 million strong Indian Army down the middle is likely to be resolved on Wednesday when the Supreme Court decides on the promotion policy of the force. The appeal was filed by the Central government against a decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) quashing the Army's promotion policy for the rank of Colonel and above from January 2009.
A Bench comprising Justices TS Thakur and R Bhanumathi on April 15 asked the Defence Ministry to file within a week its rejoinder to the response of the officers on whose plea the AFT had passed the order.
Thirty officers had approached the AFT saying that the current promotion policy favours infantry and the artillery arms and do not provide equal opportunity to all. The AFT ruled that it was indeed discriminatory and be discontinued.
The Army then approached the Supreme Court which overruled it and stayed all promotions till a decision could be reached. Two hundred officers have joined the case against the Army.
The Infantry argued that they take bullets and should be given some privileges. Other arms like Engineers and Signals said war is a combined effort and merit and fairness cannot be sacrificed.