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Ministry takes on Army Chief on age controversy

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Ministry takes on Army Chief on age controversy
Orders AG to correct DoB in records

Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 29
With less than five days to go for the Supreme Court to hear a petition filed by Army Chief General VK Singh seeking reconciliation of his date of birth, it has now emerged that the Ministry of Defence, last week, directed the Adjutant-General branch, the record-keeper of the Army, to maintain the General’s date of birth (DoB) as May 10, 1950. It says the DoB of May 10, 1951, recorded by the AG branch and claimed by the Army Chief, was “not correct”.

The latest order is a follow-up to the rejection of the statutory complaint filed by General VK Singh on the matter. The statutory complaint was rejected by Defence Minister AK Antony on December 30, 2011. The General filed his petition in the Supreme Court on January 18 and it is listed for hearing on February 3.
Sources said the MoD in its latest order of January 23, 2012, has asked the AG to “strictly” comply with its order dated July 21, 2011, and also sought a compliance report, at the earliest. The letter, accessed by The Tribune, says, “Now that the statutory complaint stands disposed and the redressal sought by General VK Singh has not been granted…. Gen VK Singh’s officially recognised date of birth will continue to remain May 10, 1950, and that there are no grounds for interfering with the impugned order dated July 21, 2011.”
On July 21, 2011, the MoD had decided the issue and fixed May 10, 1950, as the Army Chief’s DoB. This order had said that an earlier order dated February 25, 2011, (in which the ADG MP of the AG branch had directed to amend the date of birth of Gen VK Singh, to read as May 10, 1951, instead of May 10, 1950, as recorded) was declared to be null and void and non est.
“In other words, May 10, 1951, maintained as the date of birth of Gen VK Singh by the AG Branch is not correct,” The MoD’s latest order says and goes on to add that its July 21, 2011, order was “not legally infirm and any apprehension expressed in this behalf has no basis”.
In his statutory complaint dated August 26, 2011, General VK Singh had requested the MoD (in para 94 of his complaint) to “reconsider and withdraw” its order dated July 21, 2011, and “decide whether the AG Branch, the official record-keeper of the date of birth, is correctly maintaining his date of birth as May 10, 1951”.
The MoD, in its explanation for acting now, says, since the DoB issue was part of the statutory complaint hence it was decided to wait for its disposal.
The MoD has also clarified the contention that no inquiry had been conducted by the Army headquarters nor had the AG’s branch been co-opted or kept informed about the same. It cites a January 30, 2008, letter by the then Military Secretary (Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash) which said with the approval of the then Chief (Gen Deepak Kapoor), “a detailed examination in consultation with the AG’s branch with regard to verification of date of birth in respect of Lt Gen VK Singh, has been carried out...the date of birth in respect to the officer continues to be maintained as May 10, 1950”.
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