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Updated: January 18, 2012 03:26 IST

Centre files caveat, explores options to end age row

New Delhi Bureau
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File photo of Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh. The Army Chief had moved court to 'correct' his date of birth in the official records. Photo: AP
File photo of Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh. The Army Chief had moved court to 'correct' his date of birth in the official records. Photo: AP

The Centre on Tuesday filed a caveat in the Supreme Court to prevent Army chief V.K. Singh from getting any ex parte order in the writ petition filed by him challenging the Defence Ministry's order fixing his date of birth as May 10, 1950, instead of treating it as May 10, 1951, even as the government considered various options to end the controversy.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony is believed to have discussed the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Amid speculation in sections of the media, knowledgeable sources in the government maintained that nothing dramatic should be expected immediately.

On Monday Gen. Singh filed the petition seeking to quash the Ministry's order by which he would retire this year. Advocate T.A. Khan filed the caveat on behalf of the Ministry to ensure that the government was also heard before any order was passed. The court is yet to fix the date of hearing for Gen. Singh's petition.

In his petition, the Army Chief maintained that the date of birth was already concluded as May 10, 1951 once the police verified the DOB at the time of joining the service. He said the DOB of May 10, 1951 mentioned in the Matriculation Certificate was sacrosanct and this had to be treated as conclusive proof.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea filed in support of the Army Chief's contention a few weeks back is listed for hearing before a Bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia on September 20.

The Congress said the government position on the issue was based on written legal opinion and it would have been better if the Army Chief had not approached the court.

Party spokesperson Abhishekh Singhvi charged the Opposition parties with doing a ‘disservice' to the country by sensationalising the issue. Asked about the petition filed by the Army Chief, Mr. Singhvi said that it was for the court to take a decision.

The BJP blamed the government for the row. “The controversy shows the failure of statecraft of the Government of India in the handling of the age-related matter of the Army Chief,” BJP's chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the very fact the issue required judicial intervention showed complete erosion of the credibility of the government.

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The army Genaral is very much right,he served/serving for India and this government.government should need to correct the Dob as per his Matriculation certificate.or why asking general public to produce SSLC certificate as age proof for Passport,Ration card,driving licence etc.

from:  Kalyan
Posted on: Jan 20, 2012 at 14:26 IST

It sounds very strange that the general had noted his date of birth only at the last moment during the time of retirement. Why he has not tried to correct it all these years ? This incident clearly questions the honesty and dignity of the General who is holding the top most position in the Prestigious Indian Army.
The government should learn from this and must formulate adequate preventive measures so that such incidents doesn't happen in future.

from:  Ramachandran.P
Posted on: Jan 19, 2012 at 17:28 IST

What if Supreme Court Upholds government's decision. In that case will
it be right to say that the " HONOUR & INTEGRITY " of that office have been injured . Media is blowing this issue out of proportion . This DOB row cannot determine the Honour and Integrity of that office. It might be General's personal "HONOUR & INTEGRITY" at stake as if SC upholds Govt.'s decision it will be Mr. Singh who may not feel so honoured, not that Office. let the court adjudicate on the row now , do not let the Media try this matter.

from:  Jabir Hasan
Posted on: Jan 19, 2012 at 17:23 IST

Form the media reports and details published, it is evident that the
controversy has snowballed to its present situation from the period
of Gen JJ Singh and Gen Deepak Kapoor at the helms of affairs. Both
adjutant general and military secretary function directly under the
army chief at the army headquarters.In India, date of birth mentioned
in Matriculation certificate certificate issued by the university/
education board is accepted as the correct DOB for all official
purposes. In the light of this universally accepted rule,it is strange
that the previous two army chiefs could not sort out the mess during
their respective tenure. Is there something deep down more than what
meets the eye that forced Gen V K Singh to take the step he has taken?

from:  Amarjit Singh
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 22:23 IST

One is surprised to see how the issue has been delayed till the fag end of retirement.What was the date of birth while entering to service,how was the service benefits were calculated till this date.If that was acceptable to Mr.Singh , raising the issue at the last moment is defacto seems not acceptable.The ordinary governmet servants used to sort out this type of descrepancies then and there.How it can happen in the case of Supream position.If it was the failure of the Army Chief to not raise the issue till the retiremet age ,one will find no reason why it should be revised betraying the close running senior employees to such a coveted rank on his leaving forthwith.On the other hand if the issue was raised reasonably in advance and no ratification was done from the concerned, there can't any justification why he should not be allowed to contine one more year.The criteria should be the sanctity of action take from both sides to facilitate the oponent to resolve the issue.

from:  Bose A Panicker
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 19:12 IST

Why these governments drag so long to settle this simple matter? Instead of solving amicably, each and every issue the present UPA government is further complicated the issue to the core.

Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 15:46 IST

It is matter of shame to see that highest dignitory of Armed forces is fighting legal battle to extend his tenure by claiming his date of birth was wrong.This could have been corrected in first five years of his service.Then nobody could have objected to this correction in his date of birth.General has also violated the undertaking given at the time of promotion.A common soldier could have been charged for supression of facts, misrepresentation and fabrication of records etc.And would have been Court marshalled.

from:  Gavit M.H.
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 12:57 IST

Anyone at the age of 14 years who wished to enter army service would have done the same thing as the Respected General. But in the Army Service commission,in service seniority ranking ,the age factor is weighed most as everyone has been given better oppurtunity to occupy the highest position before retirement. General must have complained about the discrpency in his date of birth after the ranking. In that case action should have been taken and solution should have been found immediately by the Snoring M.O.D and Babus.As the matter is already gone to court, the Governement has proved one more case of inefficieny and neglection of immportant issues. The Honourable Defence Minister who is world famous for his inaction, as usual left the risk to grow into tree.In my opinion the err is on both side and the penalty should be on both and so the General should be permitted an extension of service for another 6 months and i hope this could be a better solution and face saving for both.

from:  Pannir
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 12:07 IST

It is time that government sees the danger how our chief is getting ideas from our neighbourhood.The government must understand that existing method of dealing this problem can not provide a solution.Like Casteism ,jingoism is spreading among our armed forces which is a danger to democracy

from:  Atis
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 10:50 IST

This sorry issue coming at the heels of cascade of governance issues
shows the UPA 2 in poor light afflicted by foot in the mouth disease.
It reminds us of Greek myth of a Hydra, a massive and poisonous
serpent with nine heads. Every time one head was injured, another two
grew in its place. One scandal contained two grows in its place.
Manmohan Singh government is in self destruct mode and none will shed
a tear to see it go inexorable in to oblivion.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 10:23 IST

One thing that i fail to understand about this issue is, why Gen. V. K. Singh has approached the court at d last minute. This DOB issue could have been easily solved out earlier with ample time in hand.This unnecessary hype by the political parties with the media giving it a boost is doing no good to the country.Someone please tell these political parties that there are other important issues in country to be tackled than lashing out and blaming each other.

from:  Vin
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 09:54 IST

For the present India requires military rule, there is lot of injustice going on politically. A fair type of administration is required for the present situation for some time.The people of India fedup with, corruption, sheltering corrupt people,humiliation to the intelegent community, such as Anna hazare & his team, Baba ramdev and many more.where as giving shelter to corrupt and chidambaram,S M krishna, Mayathi, Lalu prasad and many more such like minded people.In India Backward class remains as back ward, 42% of our people are undernurishment even ater 64 years of Independence. Now ill treating military heads who are petriots.There is one more unwanted situation may crop an account of " cast / relion census". The caste census may leads to any problem.We have expected castless society, where as CAST CENSUS may creat a greater proble.Who can solve this problem, it is possible only from Military rule no body else.

from:  Suresh D.R
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 09:40 IST

the general is dishonest in having two date of births -he should resign on his own.
he is unfit to be even solider in the indian army. It is a MORAL decay. A general having two date of births.

from:  Kulasekar
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 09:37 IST

Whether the Army Chief Gen V K Singh has the courage, the resources
and enough popular backing to claim equality before law? Whether under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, “Equality before Law-the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”…… the language of Article 14 thus: “that the obvious implication is that if any person or group of (Army Chief Gen V K Singh) has the courage, the resources and enough popular backing to claim equality before law? The language of Article 14 thus: “that the obvious implication is that if any person or group of persons has the courage, the resources and enough popular backing to claim equality before law, then alone the state shall not deny it. An observation

from:  Balbir Singh Sooch
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 09:11 IST

It is extermely shameful that the Army General should make an issue of his age , in a country rampant with unemployment . How many unemployed youth are making a issue of their age ?, who keep trying for jobs and fail . The General has servd in the highest capacity and must leave to keep the highest traditions of discipline of the Armed Forces or start a Union in the Defence Forces and take up the cause of several others similar like him . It is one more example of the rot that has set in the Defence Forces .

from:  venkata vp
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 07:23 IST

This is a governance lapse. At the time of giving appointment letter as Chief of Army staff, the end of tenure should have been specified by date. This could be the date he would deem to retire.

from:  Suman
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 07:04 IST

One cannot help but quote Oliver Cromwell to General V. K Singh:

“You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!” The irony is that Cromwell was addressing the [English] Rump Parliament in 1653! And it may well be the Indian electorate's message to the UPA Government at the next General Election.

from:  Charu Khopkar
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 06:13 IST

The best solution is to take the average of the two dates and fix November 10 1950 as the date of birth for the
s Chief of the Army and call it a day!

from:  V.S.Venkatavaradan
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 06:10 IST

Is it not foolish of the government make issue out of Birth date of the
person who place his life for the nation? Both birth dates are on
government records which creates distrust of the record and hence what
is General is saying is the fact. Government may not want to believe
what general is saying because they may like to promote their own man,
which may help set up one party dictatorship in the country.

from:  Patriot
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 05:08 IST

it is a sorrowful state of affairs , that the birth date of the chief of the Indian Army has been made an issue of public debate.Both the government and the General are at fault.The press reports do indicate that certain amount of politics has also intruded in the issue.It is to be waited and seen only ,whether the General has become a maid in the hands of politician-be it on any score. Now that the matter has become para-judicial,,the APEX court will look into all the aspects of the issue and award justice certainly to the GENERAL.Whether it is sabotage on the part of the government or cheating on the part of the GENERAL-will be exposed.EITHER WAY. IT WILL BE AN IRREPAIRABLE DAMAGE CAUSED TO OUR DEMOCRATIC SET UP. AND DEMOCRACY.

Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 04:50 IST

The criteria of holding important and decision making positions of people in the defense force, in governance or in any other public institutions should be based on their mental and physical capacities. This has to be determined by a medical panel on an yearly basis, once the person has crossed the age determined by the medical authorities in consultation by the Government of the time. Once the consensuses on the age matter is made, a policy and a procedure has to be written up and followed. Age itself is not a detriment in one's capacity for peak performance.

from:  Saratchandran
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 04:49 IST

it is shame for govt , an honest general needs to go to supreme court for redressal of his fundamental and constitution given rights ,we wish him good luck and would like to see him for one years more and serve nation with honesty and crediblity,,whole adarsh society tainted deepak kapoor, and jj sinrgh like governorship allurement like general did unjustice to most brave,honest general ,we whole indian are with generals,,

from:  bhupinder
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 04:32 IST

You commit an offence and then go to courtasking for relief!!!. It is the Gen who created the controversy by furnishing two DOBs &taking advantage of them as the occassions arose in the past!!!!In the interest of discipline in defence forces the govt should sack him. There is no question of law involved for Supreme court to arbiter the issue.Only facts

from:  chandrasekhara Ramanna
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 04:03 IST

The UPA Govt. failed the country on a number of issues (Eg. 2G Scam, LokPal Bill etc). This issue affecting the senior most Army officer at the time of his ritirement is unfortunate and has been badly mishandled. The Govt. has little credibility.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 03:35 IST

I did not know who was correct on this issue. But after reading Hindu editorial Iam confident that the General is on the right side of the Fence. Let better sense prevail within this government which seems incapable of doing anything honestly building up scam after scam.

from:  harish
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 03:00 IST

It is an age old custom and rule that whenever a dispute arises as to which date of birth is correct whether according to horoscope or matriculation certificate the latter is taken as an authenticated one. Even the passport office insists on the matriculation certificate if one exists for birth date proof. Why the Government took a different stand no body knows. But afer messing up every thing they want the opposition to support them This is another case of bungling previous one bing LokPal bill How can you expect the oppositon to support them? Does it mean that people have given mandate to run for 5 years withour any interruption.? Then there is no necessity for no confidence motion cut motion etc

from:  jagannathan
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012 at 01:37 IST
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