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Updated: February 1, 2012 03:04 IST

Antony says Army Chief's age issue is beyond government

Special Correspondent
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Defence Minister A K Antony and Army Chief Gen V K Singh at Gandhi Samadhi, Rajghat on the occassion of Martyrs Day in New Delhi on Jan. 30, 2012. Photo: S. Subramanium
The Hindu Defence Minister A K Antony and Army Chief Gen V K Singh at Gandhi Samadhi, Rajghat on the occassion of Martyrs Day in New Delhi on Jan. 30, 2012. Photo: S. Subramanium

Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Tuesday emphasised that the controversy over the year of birth of Army Chief General V.K. Singh was not an issue to be characterised as a ‘civil-military confrontation,' suggesting that it occurred due to the Service maintaining two sets of date of birth (DoB) for nearly four decades.

“For 36 years, two branches of the same institution maintained two dates of birth and that is why this controversy,” Mr. Antony told correspondents on the sidelines of a function.

This is the second time the Minister is reacting to the issue publicly and it comes days ahead of the scheduled hearing of the matter by the Supreme Court.

Reiterating that the development was unfortunate, he said the government did not have any role in it since the issue cropped up when it was noticed in 2006 by the Army Headquarters and reconciled at the service-level and later determined by the chief. During the tenure of the then Army Chief, Gen. J.J. Singh, the issues was reconciled and the Army conveyed it to the government, which went by the decision.

Controversy arose as the Adjutant General, the official record keeper, notes the DoB as May 10, 1951, while in the records kept in the Military Secretary Branch, responsible for promotions, it is May 10, 1950. Gen. Singh moved the Supreme Court on January 16 against the decision of the government to reject his statutory complaint on the issue.

“This is now beyond the government and we have no control over it. Let us all mentally-prepare to accept the decision whatever it may be. That will be the final decision of the Supreme Court,” Mr. Antony said.

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Leaving everything to the descreation of Suprem Court will find the already overloaded Suprem Court running short of time to deal with cardinal deserving issues.The head of institutions must exercise the well enshrined powers decisively and as a lst resort it should go for consiliatory measures to see that the matter is resolved amicably among the parties sticking to the written service rule.If the Hon'ble Supream Court is draged even to inerpret an issue of Date Of Birth,there won't be any end to such cases.Then what for the highly paid institutional heads are there in the respective positions.It is the failure of the institutional head and not even the baby of the defence minister Mr. AK.Antoney.

from:  Bose A Panicker
Posted on: Feb 3, 2012 at 16:51 IST
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