The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has reportedly come down heavily on the Military Secretary’s (MS) Branch, Army Headquarters for subverting the promotion process for officers. AFT observed that it was apparent that the MS Branch had conducted promotion board proceedings in gross violation of their own promulgated policies and principles of natural justice. The Tribunal, in its order passed recently, ruled that the Defence Ministry and Army Headquarters must review their notified promotion policies in a manner that informal and inconsistent practices that could seriously jeopardise natural justice and equality within the organization, are not allowed to creep in. Allowing a petition filed by an officer of the Judge Advocate General’s Department, Col RK Tripathi, who was not empanelled for promotion to the rank of Brigadier, the Tribunal observed that the MS Branch conducted a number of promotion boards by clubbing senior and junior batches and drawing comparative merit of candidates of different seniority and reckonable batches, which is an illegal practice not supported by any rules. “Unfortunately, the higher authorities in Army HQ and the MoD have failed to exercise any supervision. Such a practice is fraught with dangers of erosion of natural justice and the system can be ruined by favouritism and nepotism,” the Tribunal said.