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Age row: Making mountain  of a molehill

The controvery over the Army Chief’s age could easily have been avoided had common sense prevailed. Matriculation certificate is the thumb rule acceptable throughout the country for a valid date of birth.

The unnecessary controversy arose due to different sets of records maintained in the Adjutant-General and Military Secretary branches at the Army headquarters. The argument by some analysts that Gen Singh’s moving the court would affect the morale of the Army is untenable.  The confidence of the Army would have been affected if the Army Chief was involved in some unethical or corrupt methods. General Singh is recognised as a brilliant   officer having impeccable record of service and has been tough on corruption, as was evident when he took action against some erring defence officers involved in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam.

While pleading his case, Gen Singh has not asked for any extension in service for the prize of office, but has only asked for rectification of his service record as the matter concerns his honour and dignity. It is wrong to say that the issue is ‘Army versus government’.

It is a personal issue that has become so big by virtue of the office being talked about. The government should backtrack and come up with a constructive solution. Political parties in the country should refrain from politicising the issue.

SK KHOSLA, Chandigarh


Newspapers flashed headlines on the Army Chief-government stand-off which made matters worse. The editorial ‘Gen Singh’s age row’ (January 18), taking a moderate view, rightly suggests that both the government and Gen Singh need to ponder over the consequences.

The government’s contention that Army Chief’s plea for correction of his DOB was time-barred seems to suggest that his case was rejected on technical grounds. If this is so, the General is justified in approaching the Supreme Court to decide the matter on merit. Hurriedly convened meetings and consultations between Prime Minister, Defence Minister and the officials gives one the impression that the government has a weak case.

The option, reportedly being considered, to appoint a new Army Chief and asking Gen VK Singh to proceed on long leave during the pendency of his case would have far-reaching implications. What will the government do with the new chief, if Gen VK Singh wins the case and is back to reclaim his post?

The government should not do anything in haste. It should not make it a prestige issue. Now that the matter is in the apex court, let it be decided purely on merit and then both should welcome the verdict in the right spirit without any iota of ill will.

Wg Cdr CL SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar


The Army possesses the records showing the two different dates of birth of General VK Singh as May 10, 1950 and May10, 1951. Why did the anomaly go undetected for so long? It is a reflection of inefficiency on the part of the departments maintaining records in the Army. When the controversy arose, the matter was referred to legal luminaries/judges and former chief justices of Supreme Court who opined that the matriculation certificate of Gen Singh shows his date of birth as May, 1951 and so should be taken as the correct proof.

When the Supreme Court has laid down that an individual’s age is established by the date given in his high school certificate, why was the same criterion not followed in Gen Singh’s case? The Ministry of Defence should have tackled the situation dexterously by declaring his date of birth as May 10, 1951. The MoD relied upon the advice of the Attorney General and rejected the statutory complaint of Gen Singh which does not augur well for the government. Gen Singh is right to avail a legal remedy.

HARI CHAND SHANKER, Advocate, Ambala Cantt.


Gen Singh tries to justify his tenacity in the protracted struggle for correction of his DOB by saying that he is doing it for the sake of his integrity and personal honour. Does it mean he does not treat his elevation to the topmost post of Army Chief by the government as an acknowledgement of his integrity? Does he not feel honoured to be the chief of one of the world’s most capable forces? We are proud of our armed forces. People are of the view that a soldier fights for the integrity and honour of the country and not his own. He may be right in his contention in the DOB issue but the trivial matter has taken gigantic proportions.

KIRAN SHARMA, Sunder Nagar (HP)


Whether it is the Military Secretary’s office or Military Adjutant General’s branch, both these departments come under the direct superintendence of the Chief of Army Staff. If Gen Singh has not been able to get his date of birth rectified over long years of service and now seeking judicial intervention, it is his fault and goes against his own organisation. Here lies his failure. We can not question the integrity of the Army Chief but he should remember that it is the government which has elevated him to the highest position, duly recognising his services to the forces.



With reference to the news report ‘RSS chief declines to meet Bindal, Kaundal’ (December 19) I would like to state that the report is factually incorrect. I had visited Bilaspur for a state-level function, scheduled for December 17, and had met the Sarsanghchalak, Sh Mohan Bhagwat, on the evening of December 16. It is incorrect to say that I had sought time for a meeting with the RSS chief and I had not met him. I would also like to bring to your notice a photograph carried on December 21 from Bilaspur, with a caption ‘Health Minister Rajeev Bindal pays tributes to freedom fighters’. The picture used is not mine

Dr RAJEEV BINDAL, Health and FW Minister, Himachal Pradesh.

Any embarrassment caused to the  minister due to the report or the photograph is regretted. — Editor-in-Chief

Rarest of the rare

The middle ‘The great survivor’ (January 12) was a touching and thought-provoking article. People are now coming forward to donate eyes but donating the whole body as done by Jagdish Jhanji to AIIMS  is a rare case. If people start donating the whole body, I think it will be a challenge to medical science to save various organs to transplant to the needy persons to live the rest of their life peacefully. 

But to turn it into a reality, there is a need to make people aware about donating their body after death. NGOs should start a campaign in this regard to motivate the people and seek cooperation of the family members at the time of a person’s death.

H DEVDHARMI, Chandigarh.



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