M A I N   N E W S

Army branch wants MoD to clarify on Chief’s age
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 23
The Army’s Adjutant General (AG) branch has sought a clarification from the Ministry of Defence over its last month’s order deciding on the age of the Army Chief. The AG branch has asked for a legal explanation of the order that decided that the date of birth of the Army Chief Gen VK Singh would be considered as May 10, 1950, and not May 10, 1951.

Sources confirmed that the AG branch had written a letter to the MoD seeking clarifications. The recent letter stems from the fact that a change in the AG records of Gen VK Singh will need intervention at the highest level and cannot be altered at the level of the AG. The Military Secretary branch has recorded the DoB of the chief as May 10, 1950, while the AG branch has it as May 10, 1951.

Sources said this should not be seen as a move that the Army headquarters had turned down the orders of the Defence Minister. “It is just a clarification and no more,” said a senior functionary. The AG branch of the Army has gone by the legally tenable Supreme Court orders that considers the school-leaving certificate as a primary document for determining the age of an employee.

The age of the Army Chief can alter the line of succession in the service. If the year of birth is taken as 1951, Gen VK Singh will continue till March 2013, which is nine months more than the date on which he is now scheduled to superannuate -- May 31, 2012. The appointment of the Chief was made in March 2010 for a period of three years or till the age of 62 years.

If he retires next year, the Eastern Army commander, Lt Gen Bikram Singh, is likely to replace him. If Gen VK Singh’s tenure is extended, the Northern Army commander, Lt Gen KT Parnaik, can be his successor.

The Army’s response was prepared over the past three weeks after legal consultations were held within its Judge Advocate-General (JAG) branch. Gen VK Singh also sought the opinion of ex-solicitor-general Gopal Subramaniam and four retired SC Chief Justices GB Patnaik, VN Khare, RC Lahoti and JS Verma. All personal records of the Army Chief — his passport, voter card, PAN card — show his date of birth as May 10, 1951.





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