Army Chief row: Govt gets 7 days to explain stand
The apex court questioned the procedure adopted by the govt in passing the December 30 order in not allowing the complaint of Army Chief Gen VK Singh.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned the hearing till February 10 on Army Chief General VK Singh`s plea for a direction to the government to declare May 10, 1951, as his date of birth in place of May 10, 1950.
Taking up by the petition, Justice RM Lodha asked Attorney General to seek instruction from the government on withdrawing its order rejecting the statutory complaint of Army Chief on age issue.
The apex court also questioned the procedure adopted by the government in passing the December 30 2011 order in not allowing the complaint of Army Chief Gen VK Singh.
In July 2011, the government had taken Attorney General’s view on a plea by the Army Chief to correct his date of birth to 1950. The Attorney General rejected his demand and fixed his date of birth as May 1951, following which Gen Singh appealed to Defence Minister AK Antony. The Ministry of Defence rejected his plea basing its view on the conclusion reached by the Attorney General.
The court said that the Dec 30 order of the government relied on the Attorney General’s view hence is not correct, “Entire process on deciding the Army chief`s age issue by the Dec 30 order appears to be vitiated,” the court observed.
In his plea, Gen Singh had accused the government of treating him in a manner, reflecting total lack of adherence to procedure and principles of natural justice in deciding his age.
Gen Singh 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 and not May 10, 1951, 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.