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Army Chief places additional documents in SC

Ahead of Friday`s hearing on the age row, Army Chief General VK Singh on Wednesday placed before the SC additional documents to support his case.



New Delhi: Ahead of Friday`s hearing on the
age row, Army Chief General VK Singh on Wednesday placed before the
Supreme Court additional documents to support his case for
restoring his date of birth as May 10, 1951.

The documents filed by General Singh relates to the Army
Rules on Commissioning of officers, his lawyer said.

The fresh documents have been filed two days ahead of the
February 10 hearing on the petition filed by General Singh seeking
to set aside two orders rejecting his plea.

The apex court on February 3 had given an option to the
government to "withdraw" its December 30, 2011 order rejecting
his statutory complaint, saying it "appears to be vitiated".

Giving the government a week`s time and posting the
matter for further hearing on February 10, the Court said
there were other remedies available for General Singh if the
government withdraws its December 30, 2011 order.

"Be clear whether you want to withdraw this December 30
order, or we quash the order," the court had said at one point
prompting Attorney General GE Vahanvati to say he would take
instructions from the government.

Posing questions to the government, a Bench comprising
justices RM Lodha and HL Gokhale had said in that case Gen
Singh`s statutory complaint against July 21 order can be
reconsidered by the authorities and there was also an option
for him to approach the Armed Forces Tribunal or the High
Court.

However, later the bench observed that approaching the
Tribunal would not be the best option as only four months are
left for him to retire.

It also said that though the tribunal is headed by
a retired judge of the apex court, there are also members who
come from the services and there is a possibility that they
could either be junior or senior to Gen Singh at some point of
time.

The apex court felt that the December 30 order
rejecting General Singh`s statutory complaint for treating his age
as May 10, 1951 was vitiated as the decision taken by the
authority was in consultation with opinion of the Attorney
General on whose opinion also the first order was passed on
July 21 last year.

General Singh had moved the apex court in January this year
accusing the government of treating him in a manner reflecting
total lack of adherence to procedure and principles of natural
justice in deciding his age.

The Army Chief took the unprecedented step of dragging
the government to the apex court after the Defence Ministry
had insisted upon treating May 10, 1950, as his official date
of birth, necessitating his retirement on May 31 this year.

Challenging the government`s decision to determine May
10, 1950, as his date of birth, Gen Singh, in a 68-page
petition, has maintained that his acceptance of 1950 as the
year of his birth was given in good faith at the behest of the
then Chief of Army Staff and not due to agreement with the
conclusion of the Military Secretary`s Branch.

"The respondent (government) needs to explain as to why
the senior most officer of the Army could be treated in a
manner which reflects total lack of procedure and principles
of natural justice and that too on an opinion obtained from
the Attorney General," his petition said.

General Singh stated that the government`s action and
conduct in refusing to accept his contention on his birth date
was affecting his image before the general public and the
armed forces.

It was his right to have a "dignified life", he pleaded
in the petition, adding that an army chief has "a right to
retire with dignity".

Referring to the ministry`s orders of December 30 and
earlier rejecting his case, the Army Chief has said that these
orders have "conveniently ignored" his matriculation
certificate, entire service record including entry into
service, promotions and annual confidential reports.

He has stated that being a highly decorated officer, he
had received all his awards, decorations and promotions as per
the date of birth being 10.5.1951.

PTI

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