Army questions MoD decision on chief`s DoB plea

Last Updated: Sunday, September 4, 2011 - 23:40

New Delhi: Gen V K Singh`s`s battle over his
age intensified on Sunday with the Army headquarters insisting
that the date of birth mentioned in his matric certificate
cannot be ignored while the Defence Ministry has rejected his
contention.

The Army Chief has two sets of date of birth in records.
The Military Secretary (MS) branch shows it to be May 10, 1950
whereas the Adjutant General`s (AG) branch shows it to be May
10, 1951. The chief`s matriculation certificate also shows it
to be May 10, 1951.

The Ministry has declared as "null and void and non est"
and "unauthorised and illegal" the change in the date of birth
to May 10, 1951 in Gen Singh`s service records made by the AG
branch in February this year.
In its first public response on the issue, Army`s
Additional Director General (Public Information) told PTI
that "the value of a matriculation certificate can`t be wished
away".

He said the Defence Ministry has arrived at its decision
on the issue on basis of what it was told by the MS Branch
which has no jurisdiction on such issues.

"The custodian of records, at the Army Headquarters, is
the AG`s branch and the MS Branch has no jurisdictional
authority on the issue as per regulations for the Army and the
charter given to each branch," he said.

The ADG (PI) said the "confusion" on the date of birth
issue "has occurred because the AG`s branch has not been
consulted."
The Army official said the enquiry (on the date of birth
of Gen Singh in 2008), which was asked for by the Defence
Ministry, "was never conducted at that time by Army HQs, as it
would have punctured the claims of the then Military
Secretary."

"This confusion was further compounded because the MS
Branch didn`t correct its records from those maintained by the
Adjutant General, despite the AG`s Branch writing to the MS,
in earlier years," the official said.

Asserting that "acceptance and admission" must be
supported by valid documents without which they have no value,
the ADG (PI) said the "value of a matriculation certificate
can`t be wished away."

Gen Singh had petitioned the Defence Ministry to change
his date of birth to May 10, 1951, which will give him an
extra ten months in service.

The Defence Ministry after taking opinion of the Attorney
General and the Law Ministry and considering records made
available to it earlier by the Army, rejected his plea on July
21.

The Ministry contened that Gen Singh had given a written
acceptance on Jaunary 30, 2008 that he will maintain date of
birth as May 10, 1950.

"The officer had further accepted this in writing
unconditionally vide his letter dated January 31, 2008," the
Ministry said.

The AG`s branch has now sought clarification from the
Defence Ministry on the legal justification of its order and
has not yet changed Gen Singh`s date of birth in its records.

The Army Chief has also filed a Statutory Complaint to
Defence Minister A K Antony against the Ministry decision to
reject his contention.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, September 4, 2011 - 10:57

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