New Delhi: In a span of one month, the
Defence Ministry has for the second time sought the opinion of
the Law Ministry on the issue of the date of birth of Army
chief Gen VK Singh.
Sources in the Law Ministry said the Defence
Ministry`s move follows "independent and private" opinions the
Army had sought from two retired judges, Justice JS Verma and
Justice GB Patnaik who had reportedly said that May 10, 1951
should be considered as Gen Singh`s date of birth instead of
May 10, 1950.
The Adjutant General`s branch of the Army had sought
the opinion of the two ex-chief justices after the Attorney
General had given his views on the issue.
"The Attorney General is the senior-most law officer
of the country and he has opined that the Army chief`s age as
mentioned in UPSC documents (May 10, 1950) should be
considered his actual date of birth. But since they have sent
the file once again, we will process it," said a the source.
He, however, added that Law Ministry was not likely
to change its opinion.
"But a final call will rest with the AG," the source
The first opinion by a Law Ministry officer posted at
Defence Ministry in February this year had said that Gen
Singh`s date of birth be treated as May 10, 1951.
But following a controversy, the AG was asked to give
Attorney General GE Vahanvati had cited Army rules
in his opinion, which debar any correction in the date of
birth after two years of joining service.
In his 18-page opinion, Vahanvati had also warned
that any change in the date of birth at this stage will
attract a series of court cases and the Army will find it
difficult to defend its decision.
The Army has two different dates as Gen Singh`s
birth. While the Adjutant General`s branch has May 10, 1951,
the military secretary`s branch records have it as May 10,
Gen Singh`s matriculation certificate has May 10,
1951 as his date of birth but the UPSC application form filled
for entry into the Army has May 10, 1950 as the date of birth.
Determination of the correct year of birth is crucial
as his tenure as the Army chief will be for three years or 62
years of age if the latter date is accepted.
If 1950 is considered as the year of birth, he will
retire in June next year. Otherwise, he can continue till
This would also have its impact on the line of
succession in the Army as if the Chief retires next year, Lt
Gen Bikram Singh would be his likely successor and if he gets
an extension in tenure, Northern army Commander Lt gen KT
Parnaik would be the chief.