The Supreme Court on Monday stayed an Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) order directing the reversion of Lt. General N.K. Mehta of Army Ordnance Corps to the rank of Brigadier.
The apex court vacation bench, comprising Justice P.C. Ghosh and Justice Amitava Roy, also stayed the AFT order imposing a cost of Rs.50 lakh on the Chief of the Army Staff, Defence Secretary, and the Military Secretary.
Besides this, the court also stayed the cost of Rs.five lakh that the Lucknow bench of AFT had imposed on Lt. General Mehta.
The vacation bench also put on hold observations in the AFT order that adversely impacted the authority of the central government to examine the Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) of high-ranking defence officers.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea by the central government challenging the AFT order imposing a cost of Rs.50 lakh on the Defence Secretary, the army chief and the Military Secretary.
The AFT had earlier held that the promotion of then Brigadier Mehta to Major General was flawed and he should be reverted to the Brigadier rank.
By the time the AFT order came, Mehta had got another promotion and had risen to the rank of Lieutenant General.
The order of reversion was stayed by the apex court as it allowed Mehta to move AFT to seek certain clarifications.
However, the AFT, by its May 13 order, reiterated its earlier order of reversion of Mehta as Brigadier and also imposed a cost of Rs.5 lakh on him and Rs.50 lakh on the top defence functionaries.