Supreme Court reminds army men of their oath

NEW DELHI, SEP 7 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 9/7/2018 11:55:29 AM IST

Supreme Court has reminded Army men of their oath that they will “go wherever ordered, by land, sea or air” while disapproving of the practice of challenging their posting from one arm or service to another.

The top court further maintained that Army has no personnel who are ‘non-combatants’ or ‘non-operational’, with the only exception of personnel belonging to the medical organisation, who have a distinct status under International Humanitarian Law.

The court made this observation when three personnel, including a Major and a Lieutenant Colonel of the Army Service Corps (ASC), challenged their posting to the operational units and operational areas. The trio argued that ASC is a ‘non-operational’ formulation for the purposes of promotional avenues and thus, they could not have been posted to these units.

The central government opposed their plea, saying transfers are not only a necessary incident of service, but an essential condition of service.

It was also argued that the posting is a part of their regimental duty, and is not based on their willingness to occupy such posts.

The top court accepted the submissions of the Centre, and pointed out that all streams work and cooperate in order to form a cohesive organisation.

“To accept the prayers of the petitioners merely on the basis of the contention that the ASC has been referred to as ‘non- operational’ for the purposes of promotion, would be to disturb the entire structure and operations of the Army,” said a bench of Justices Rohinton F Nariman and Indu Malhotra. The court then cited the oath administered to officers and sepoys alike at the time of commissioning, and emphasised that they take a pledge to go wherever ordered, by land, sea or air.

“This oath is administered to all personnel, irrespective of the arm or service to which they are commissioned. As per the oath, personnel are duty bound to serve wherever they are ordered to,” said the bench, dismissing the petitions.


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