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Ahead of court hearing, Ministry toughens stand against Army Chief

Army Chief General V.K. Singh. File photo  

The Ministry of Defence has ordered the Army's official record-keeper, the Adjutant-General, to correct the year of birth of the Chief of Army Staff, General V.K. Singh, as 1950, and not one year later as is marked in its records.

The Ministry issued a letter to this effect at the weekend. With the Supreme Court scheduled to take up Gen. V.K. Singh's petition this week, the Ministry has reiterated its July, 2011 order seeking to bring the record on a par with that of the Military Secretary that shows his date of birth as May 10, 1950. The Military Secretary branch is responsible for keeping records for promotion.

Sources in the government said the letter, copies of which have been sent to the Military Secretary and the Controller-General of Defence Accounts, reiterates the earlier stand that the February, 2011 order issued by the Adjutant-General Branch to maintain May 10, 1951 as the official date of birth was not correct and reiterates the validity of its July, 2011 order.

The letter makes it clear that the Manmohan Singh government is asserting it authority and backing Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who told Parliament in the winter session that Gen.V.K. Singh received his last three promotions, including as Chief of Army Staff, with May 10, 1950 as his date of birth.

The determination also has a bearing on the next Army Chief.

It remains to be seen what the Adjutant-General would do since it has been directed by the Ministry to send a report that it has complied with the earlier order.

The issue went to the Supreme Court after the government rejected the Army Chief's statutory complaint on December 30 last. He filed the petition a day after Army Day was celebrated on January 15.

The controversy broke out last year following an application filed under the Right to Information Act on reports that there were two sets of the year of Gen. V.K. Singh's birth present in the Army. The Union Law Ministry backed the Adjutant-General, which records it as 1951.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 6:19:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Ahead-of-court-hearing-Ministry-toughens-stand-against-Army-Chief/article13387267.ece

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