Army chief's age: Ball back in defence ministry's court

Discussion in 'Internal Security' started by Parthy, May 20, 2011.

  1. Parthy

    Parthy Air Warrior Senior Member

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    The confusion regarding the correct age of army chief General VK Singh just got confounded with the country's senior-most legal advisor on Thursday recommending that any change in the date of birth at this stage should be "legally sustainable", officials said here.

    With this legal view from Attorney General Goolam E. Vahanvati, the ball is now in the defence ministry's court on deciding the age of the present army chief, which could send the plan of succession to the 1.13-million strong army into a tizzy.

    The defence ministry had sought the attorney general's views on the date of birth of the army chief, as there were two different sets of records with the army headquarters with different dates of birth mentioned.

    The issue came up earlier this year after a set of Right to Information (RTI) application sought details of his date of birth and the army referred the requests to the defence ministry.

    The confusion over Gen. V.K. Singh's age had cropped up in 2008 after the army's military secretary branch records of his Union Public Service Commission applications showed his date of birth as May 10, 1950, while the adjutant general's branch had May 10, 1951 on its records.

    Military secretary handles appointments and promotions and adjutant general pay and pension.

    If 1950 is maintained as Gen. Singh's year of birth, then present Eastern Army Commander Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh would in all likelihood be the next chief. If 1951 is sustained, then Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen. K.T. Parnaik would be the next in line to take over from Gen. Singh.

    On the basis of the RTI applications, the defence ministry had first asked the law ministry to give its opinion on this age confusion and it had in its reply, recommended that the school leaving certificate of the army chief would have to be taken as a legal document to certify the date of birth.

    The school leaving certificate, however, shows 1951 as the year of Gen. Singh's birth.

    However, his appointment as the chief of the army staff was issued on the basis of the military secretary branch's documents, which mention 1950 as the year of his birth.

    With the attorney general now asking the defence ministry to decide on the age on the basis of facts that are sustainable in a court of law, it would now be Defence Minister A.K. Antony's call.



    Army chief's age: Ball back in defence ministry's court - The Times of India
     
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