Friday, January 20, 2012

Army Chief has a right to retire with dignity

Army Chief has a right to retire with dignity: General VK Singh tells Supreme Court
Press Trust of India, Updated: January 18, 2012 22:07 IST

New Delhi: An Army Chief "has a right to retire with dignity", General V K Singh has pleaded before the Supreme Court while accepting the government's right to determine his tenure. Challenging as "illegal and arbitrary" the rejection of his statutory complaint to Defence Minister A K Antony on December 30, for accepting May 10, 1951 as his date of birth, Genral Singh has said that this was also violated his fundamental rights.

Seeking the quashing of this order, the Army Chief has pleaded in a 68-page petition that the government be directed to treat May 10, 1951 as his date of birth and "grant all
consequential reliefs thereto".

The Army Chief's unprecedented action in dragging the government to court followed the ministry's insistence that May 10, 1950 would be treated his official date of birth and that he would consequently retire on May 31 this year.

In his petition, he has stated that he wished to make it "abundantly clear at this stage" that regardless of the result of the petition or the controversy surrounding his age, the government "has the right to determine the tenure of his office of the Chief of the Army Staff". He stated that the government's action and conduct in refusing to accept his contention on his birth date was affecting his image before the general public and the armed forces.

Referring to the ministry's orders of December 30 rejecting his case, the Army Chief has said that these orders have "conveniently ignored" his matriculation certificate, entire service record including entry into service, promotions and annual confidential reports. He has stated that being a highly decorated officer, he had received all his awards, decorations and promotions as per the date of birth being May 10, 1951.

General Singh has enclosed voluminous documents and records with the petition in support of his stand. However, he has said that in an application dated July 29, 1965 for admission to National Defence Academy (NDA) course he had, as a 14-year school boy, inadvertently filled his date of birth as May 10, 1950.

The General said Military Secretary's Branch (MS Branch), one of the departments of the army, somehow now claims that his date of birth is May 10, 1950 while the same department while processing his name for the gallantry awards reflected the year of birth as 1951. He said the Adjutant General's Branch (AG Branch) being the official record keepers of the Indian Army maintains the year of birth as 1951.

The Army Chief said he had only sought harmonisation of the records of the two departments and his request was erroneously construed as request for change of birth and was wrongly turned down by the two orders. He said he has had impeccable service record and has been decorated for his exemplary and meritorious service. In a service where discipline and respect for seniors is one of the important feature, the controversy has been given undue publicity and coverage in the media.

Citing a judgement of the court in Kochunni verus State of Madras in 1959, General Singh said the court has categorically said that an application under Article 32 of the Constitution cannot be refused merely on the ground that such an application has been made to the Supreme Court in the first instance, without resort to High Court, or there is some adequate alternative remedy available to him. It was further held in that judgement that the right to move the Supreme Court for the purpose of enforcing the fundamental rights itself is a fundamental right.
Read more at: NDTV report
Related Reading
Lack of procedure in determining my DOB: Singh to SC

General VK Singh's uphill task to clean up the system
General Deepak Kapoor may seem like a terrible aberration. But BRIJESH PANDEY finds the rot runs deeper in the army. Caught in action When he was army chief, Gen Kapoor opened his office to wheeler dealers... Read more click here

Comment: The age row is solely the creation of MS Branch who have shamed the Government in connivance with the MOD babus. Instead of correcting the records in consonance with the Adjutant Generals's Branch it has indulged in theatrics to abet the succession plan plotted to aid the corrupt. The Government is duty bound to indentify the mischief makers and bring them to book.

General Deepak Kapoor who is stone deaf confirmed that the Indian army gets blind at night. Presently he is retired with 20% disability! The Raksha Mantri and the Army chief have an onerous responsibility and they must strike to show the troops that corrupt leaders always get their just desserts. The Army is a very big institution and one cannot allow the soldiers morale to be undermined. Thus the case of General Kapoor needs to be handled expeditiously so that an example is set and the office of the Army Chief is never debased in future.
Army chief partially deaf, can't make out words
Adarsh scam: Court of inquiry indicts ex-army chiefs Deepak Kapoor, NC Vij

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