KOCHI: They are a part of the team protecting the frontiers of the country, but the remnants of the British Raj are affecting the promotion prospects of hundreds of havildars in the Indian Army.
As far as the promotion of the employees is concerned, the Defence Service Regulations, brought in by the British Raj, are still in force.
According to the regulations, a havildar will not be eligible for promotion to naib subedar if he is above the age of 46. It would take around 15 to 17 years for those joining the entry cadre to get promotion to the rank of naib subedar.
Though the regulations were amended twice after Independence, the clauses related to the promotion of havildar to naib subedar have not been changed.
According to the records of Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), the promotion of 191 havildars has been unjustifiably pending as of April 2010. After going through the representations by havildars, the AOC records office has strongly recommended in their favour.
The office of the DirectorGeneral of Ordnance Corps also has made strong recommendations favouring the cause.
According to the AdjutantGeneral's Branch, the office which is to take a final decision on policy matters such as promotion, the 'aging and greying' factor is preventing it from promoting those above 46.
But according to those arguing for allowing promotion from havildar rank to naib subedar even after 46 years, there are Army personnel working up to the age of 54.
A person promoted to the rank of naib subedar or subedar before 46 can continue in the service till the completion of 52 years. Those in the rank of major subedar can be in service up to the age of 54 years. Then, why are the authorities denying promotion only to the havildars?
The fate of hundreds of havildars in the Army, who are awaiting promotion, lies in the answer by the authorities.