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‘Lack of procedure in determining my DOB’

Gen VK Singh has told the Supreme Court that he was treated by the govt in a manner which reflects total lack of principles of natural justice.



New Delhi: Army Chief Gen VK Singh has told
the Supreme Court that he was treated by the government in a
manner which reflects total lack of procedure and principles
of natural justice in deciding his age.

In his 68-page petition challenging the government`s
decision on determining his date of birth as 10.5.1950 and not
1951, he has maintained that his acceptance of his year of
birth as 1950 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.

Gen Singh also wondered as to why the Ministry of Defence
would doubt the records in the Adjutant General`s branch, the
official record-keeper of the Army, has not been explained.
Nor has any authority while rejecting his plea for treating
his date of birth as 10.5.1951 has ever doubted the birth
certificate of the petitioner.

"One fails to understand as to why such importance being
given to an inadvertent mistake while filling up the UPSC form
while ignoring the date of birth recorded in public record,"
he said.

Gen Singh will have to retire from service if his date of
birth is finally determined as 10.5.1950.
Explaining the discussions he had had with the then Army
Chief Gen Dipak Kapoor on why he accepted 10.5.1950 as the
date of birth in 2008, he said he did so on being ordered by
Gen Kapoor in his letters.

"In the highest of traditions of the Indian Army, he had
no option but to comply with the orders and command of his
direct superior officer as also the assurances of his superior
officer with the hope that he would bring the issue to a
logical and ethical conclusion by accepting facts," the
petition said.

He said the Army Chief in 2008 had personally assured him
that the date of birth issue would be resolved by him.

However, nothing had been done for almost three months
and he addressed a letter on July 1, 2008 to the then Chief of
the Army Staff General Kapoor requesting for justice in
his case.
Further, the petition said when it was brought to the
notice of the then Army Chief that Gen Singh had met Lt Gen
Khare and Lt Gen Gangadharan heading the MS Branch in 2006 and
2007 respectively, he was assured that "all necessary
reconciliation with regard to the clarification on the date of
birth would be carried out."

In the petition, Gen Singh said an Army Chief "has a right
to retire with dignity" even while he accepted the
government`s right to determine his tenure.

He called as "illegal and arbitrary" the rejection of his
Statutory Complaint to Defence Minister A K Antony on December
30 last for accepting May 10, 1951 as his date of birth and
said this was also violative of his fundamental rights.

Seeking the quashing of this order, the Army Chief
pleaded in the petition that the government be directed to
treat May 10, 1951 as his date of birth and "grant all
consequential reliefs thereto".

Gen Singh`s unprecedented action in dragging the
government to the apex court followed the ministry`s
insistence that May 10, 1950 would be treated his official
date of birth and that he would consequently retire on May 31
this year.

In his petition, he has stated that he wished to make
it "abundantly clear at this stage" that regardless of the
result of the petition or the controversy surrounding his age,
the government "has the right to determine the tenure of his
office of the Chief of the Army Staff".

Gen 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.

Gen Singh has enclosed voluminous documents and records
with the petition in support of his stand that his year of
birth was 1951.

However, he has said that in an application dated
29.7.1965 for admission to National Defence Academy (NDA)
course he had, as a 14-year school boy, inadvertently filled
his date of birth as 10.5.1950.

PTI

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