New Delhi: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia on Friday rejected a PIL seeking a direction to the government to declare May 10, 1951 as the date of birth of Army Chief Gen VK Singh instead of May 10, 1950
The PIL was filed by The Grenadiers Association (Rohtak Chapter).
The apex court bench, while rejecting the PIL, said there was no need to entertain the petition when a similar petition moved by Army Chief Gen VK Singh is already lined up before it for hearing.
The petition filed by Gen Singh in connection with a dispute over his date of birth will come up for hearing in the apex court later.
The Ministry of Defence had already filed a caveat that no order should be passed without hearing it on the PIL filed by The Grenadiers Association.
In the PIL, it was submitted that it was forced to approach the court as both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister AK Antony had rejected Singh`s plea for change of his date of birth.
Earlier on December 16, the NGO`s petition could not be heard by the bench of justices B S Chauhan and T S Thakur as the Justice Thakur had recused himself from hearing it.
The petitioner, an NGO headed by retired colonel B S Koshal, claimed the uncertainty over Army chief`s date of birth has affected his morale impinging on national security.
The petition had sought a direction to the government to declare May 10, 1951 as the date of birth of Singh instead of 1950.
In his 68-page petition, 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.
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.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday conceded that the controversy relating to the age of Army chief was "sensitive" and refused to express his views on it.
"It is a sensitive issue. I do not want to comment," Manmohan Singh said on the sidelines of a function to release a book chronicling the history of `The Tribune` newspaper.
The Prime Minister`s reaction comes four days after Gen. Singh sued his government in the Supreme Court over rejection of his statutory complaint for rectification of official records to show his date of birth as May 10, 1951, instead of 1950.
Importantly, government is reported to be involved in a backdoor negotiation with Army Chief to convince him to accept the post of CDS (Chief of Defence Staffs) to resolve the row.
With Agency Input