A CRPF official who was denied promotion for suffering an injury while playing badminton has got relief from the Delhi High Court which has directed the force to elevate him along with his batchmates with all other benefits.
The case was filed by Assistant Commandant Venkatesh who had approached the high court for promotion to the rank of Deputy Commandant.
According to senior advocate Ankur Chhibber, his client Assistant Commandant Venatesh was posted at the CRPF Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorist (CIAT) School at Silchar in Assam in 2013 when his left eye was hit by a shuttlecock while playing badminton with his troops.
After sustaining the injury, the officer received medical treatment at AIIMS in Delhi and later returned to his unit situated in Silchar to resume his duties within a month. Over a period of time, his medical category also improved to E-2 from E-3 in a few months.
Meanwhile, a Court of Inquiry (CoI) was initiated into the incident following which it was ordered that the CRPF officer's treatment will be done on government expenditure as he sustained the injury during government duty.
However, when the officer's batch was considered for promotion to the rank of Deputy Commandant, he was denied promotion due to his low medical category despite his claim that he was eligible for relaxation in promotion as he sustained injury while on duty.
The CRPF told the officer that the relaxation in medical category for promotion will be admissible only to those personnel only who are wounded or injured during wars or while fighting against the enemy/militant/intruders/armed hostiles/insurgents due to an act of these in India or aboard and officers/men who are wounded/injured during field firings/accidental firings/explosion of mines or other explosive devices and due to accidents while on active duty in India or abroad.
After hearing both sides, the high court bench headed by Justice S Murlidhar and Justice Sanjeev Narula stated that while defining the term accidents the force had "narrowed" the scope of incidents to a few situations.
The high court further said that there is a difficulty in accepting the CRPF argument as its troops do not cease to be on active duty only because he is not actually in the line of firing or dealing with mines or other explosive devices. "A member of the CRPF continues to remain on duty in whichever post he is - whether it is an anti-insurgency station posting or a peace posting," the bench observed.
"An officer continues to remain on active duty even in such a situation and it will not be justified in characterising such an accident as having been incurred while not on activity," the court said while adding that the officer was "entitled to the relaxation" for promotion.
The court set aside the CRPF's orders through which it had rejected the petitioner's plea for promotion saying, "CRPF will also pass the consequential orders for promotion of the Petitioner to the rank of DC from 19th December 2014 the date on which the batch mates were promoted as Deputy Commandants received the said promotion."
"The officer's pay will also be revised and notionally fixed in the above terms along with his batch mates with all consequential benefits. The petition is allowed," the court said.