M A I N   N E W S

Can’t ignore DoB in Class X certificate: Army to ministry
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, September 4
The embarrassing controversy over the Chief of the Army Staff General VK Singh’s two different dates of birth, followed by an unprecedented “statutory complaint” by the General under the Army Act, went through another twist on Sunday when the Army Headquarters went on record to say that the “matriculation certificate of the Army Chief cannot be ignored”.

General Singh’s claim, on which hinges the date of his retirement and appointment of his successor, has already been turned down by the Defence Ministry. Sunday’s development, therefore, signalled the beginning of an uglier public spat. The development does not augur well for the image of the forces or the ministry.

In what is the first public response on the issue, Army’s Additional Director General (Public Information) said. “The value of a matriculation certificate can’t be wished away.” He also went on to blame the Military Secretary branch of the Army HQ of not matching its records with the Adjutant General’s branch.

The Army Chief has two sets of date of birth in the records. The Military Secretary (MS) branch shows it to be May 10, 1950, whereas the Adjutant General’s (AG) branch shows it to be May 10, 1951. Strangely, the Military Secretary’s branch has itself been ignoring the very same matriculation certificate. The ADG (PI) says, “The custodian of records, at the Army Headquarters, is the AG’s branch and the MS branch has no jurisdictional authority on the issue as per regulations for the Army and the charter given to each branch.”

The two DoB’s have a 45-year-old history. The General, when he joined the NDA as a schoolboy, had mentioned his DoB as May 1950 in his signed application that is maintained by the MS branch.

The ADG (PI) said the Defence Ministry has arrived at its decision on the issue on the basis of what it was told by the MS branch which has no jurisdiction on such issues. In a response to queries, he said the “confusion has occurred because the AG’s branch has not been consulted”. This was further compounded “because the MS branch did not correct its records from those maintained by the AG, despite the AG branch writing to the MS, in earlier years”. 





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