16 years after retirement, range officer promoted to Assistant Conservator, thanks to SC order

K A Abdul Rahman

Kochi: A retired forest range officer was given promotion by the Forest Department, that too after 16 long years after his retirement, thanks to the order issued by the Supreme Court.

Though belated, K A Abdul Rahman, hailing from Perumbavoor, got justice at the end of years of long legal battle that he had waged.

The State Government had to finally surrender before him as the Supreme Court had ordered his notional promotion from the post of forest ranger officer to the Assistant Conservator of Forests.

The promotion was given with retrospective effect from December 13, 2000, the date on which the official, who was junior to him, was given promotion by the department.

Though the back wages were not sanctioned, the promotion would lead to an increase in his pensionary benefits, the Forest Department Principal Secretary said in his order.

Rahman, who joined the service as range officer in 1984, retired in the same post on May 1, 2006 after completing 22 years of service.

Rahman joined the service after bagging first rank in the ranger training course run by the Forest Training College, Coimbatore. His promotion as Assistant Conservator of Forests which was due in 2000 did not take place as another official went for a court case.

It was during this time that sandalwoods worth crores of rupees went missing from the strong room run by the Forest Department at Olavakkode in Palakkad which is situated close to the office where he was working then. Rahman was placed under suspension for two years in connection with the case.

Another Vigilance case was also filed against him on charges of amassing assets above known sources of income.

Though the Vigilance Department filed a report in the court saying that there was no merit in the charge raised against him, the Vigilance Court ordered for reinvestigation in the case. But the High Court had quashed the order of the Vigilance Court.

In the meantime, some of his colleagues, who had the same tenure, and those who were junior to him, became the Divisional Forest Officers. It was from 2017 that he started a legal battle for promotion at the Kerala Administrative Tribunal. The fight went up to the Supreme Court. Finally, his consistent fight for justice paid off.

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