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Age row: Army Chief withdraws his petition from SC

NEW DELHI: In a setback to Army Chief Gen V. K. Singh, the Supreme Court today upheld the government decision on his age issue and said he cannot resile on his commitment accepting the date of birth as May 10, 1950, forcing him to withdraw his petition.

The apex court said it was not in favour of entertaining Gen Singh's petition that his date of birth should be treated in official records as May 10,1951, and gave him option of withdrawing it.

The court held that no prejudice was done to Gen Singh and the government decision on his date of birth will continue to be there. In view of this, Gen Singh will have to retire on May 31 this year.

The apex court noted that the government has full faith in him and that the court wanted to ensure that he continues to work as the Army Chief as he has been doing.

Gen Singh has to abide by his commitment and honour his letters of 2008 and 2009 accepting the date of birth as May 10, 1950, the court said during over two-hour long hearing in a packed courtroom.

Finally, Gen Singh withdrew his petition when the court hearing resumed at 2 pm after the lunch recess.

Earlier, at the start of the hearing, Attorney General G. E. Vahanvati informed the court that government had withdrawn its December 30, 2011, order rejecting Gen Singh's statutory complaint on his age issue.

At the same time, Vahanvati made it clear that the government stands by its decision of July last year to treat his date of birth as May 10,1950.

Posing tough questions to Gen Singh as to why he did not get the records corrected, a Bench headed by Justice R. M. Lodha said the recognition of his date of birth as May 10, 1950, by the Army does not suffer from perversity and was not grossly erroneous.

It said that all documents at threshold when Gen Singh joined Indian Military Academy and National Defence Academy contain the date of birth as May 10,1950. 

The Supreme Court Bench, also comprising Justice H. L. Gokhale, said Gen Singh has to abide by his commitment and honour his letters of 2008 and 2009 in which he had accepted his date of birth as May 10, 1950.

The court told Gen Singh that having given his commitment and assurance of abiding by the government decision, he cannot resile.

It said that recognition of Gen Singh's date of birth as May 10, 1950, by the Army does not suffer from perversity and is not grossly erroneous.

The government has full faith in him being the Army Chief and no prejudice was done to him, the court said, while observing that being the Army Chief, Gen Singh has reached the highest position which any officer aspires.

The apex court observed that Gen Singh's writ petition was not for determination of date of birth but for recognition of date of birth in the official records.

The Army Chief faced further disappointment with the court refusing his plea that the government order on his date of birth as May 10, 1950, be restricted only to service record.

After Gen Singh withdrew his petition, the court declared it as disposed off as withdrawn.

Vahanvati earlier made it clear that government was sticking to its July 21 and July 22, 2011 order turning down Gen Singh's contention that he was born in 1951.

He told the apex court that the government and 'raksha mantri' has full faith and confidence in Gen Singh to lead the Army.

Emerging from the court, the Army Chief's counsel Puneet Bali said it was victory of both sides as the matter has been resolved amicably.

"Our petition was not for extension of service (of Gen Singh) but a matter of honour and integrity of the General," he told reporters, adding "we are satisfied that his honour and integrity has been restored". PTI




20 killed as minibus falls into gorge
Arteev Sharma
Tribune News Service

JAMMU: At least 20 persons were killed and five seriously injured when a minibus rolled down into a deep gorge in the Shoran area of Gandoh tehsil in mountainous Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir this morning.

The initial reports received here said the driver of the over-speeding minibus (JK06-2169), which was on its way to Thatri from Kilothran, failed to negotiate a sharp curve and lost control over the vehicle. The police have recovered 20 bodies from the gorge, while the rescue operation is on to rescue other passengers.

The minibus rolled down into a 400-ft deep gorge and the impact of the accident was such that the police was facing difficulty in identification of the victims, the reports said.Back



Pak SC rejects Gilani's appeal, to indict him on Monday

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in a contempt case on Friday and is set to charge him on Monday, a move likely to bring fresh political turmoil to the chronically unstable country.

"The appeal is dismissed," Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said in court, reading the decision of the eight-member bench.

The legal tussle stems from thousands of old corruption cases thrown out in 2007 by a controversial amnesty law passed under former military President Pervez Musharraf.

The contempt accusation arises from Gilani and his advisers ignoring court orders to ask Swiss authorities to re-open cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, the most prominent beneficiary of the law.

If convicted, Gilani could face jail, but the case, which has raised tension between Pakistan's civilian leaders and the Supreme Court, could drag on and paralyse decision-making. ReutersBack



Tendulkar might be rested in ODI

ADELAIDE: Senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar is set to be rested from India's next ODI tri-series match against Australia on Sunday but if the past record is to go by, the move could end up hurting the beleaguered team. In the last 22 years, India has won only five matches against the hosts in Australia and Tendulkar has always featured prominently in all those victories.

In 1991-92, during his visit to these shores, India beat Australia by a staggering margin of 107 at WACA, Perth. Tendulkar was then the second top scorer with 36 off 65 balls while Kris Srikkanth, presently the chief selector, led the way with 60 off 60 balls.

It took India a good dozen years to beat Australia again after being hammered for 11 straight matches. In 2003-04, India beat Australia by 19 runs at Gabba.Back



Tax relief slab may be raised to Rs 3 lakh

NEW DELHI: Hiking the exemption slab for personal income tax from Rs 1.8 lakh to Rs 3 lakh, indexing rates to inflation and freeing assesses with up to Rs 5 lakh annual income from the burden of filing returns are among the recommendations being considered by Parliament's standing committee on finance.The draft report of the committee on UPA-2's ambitious Direct Tax Code is expected to suggest several amendments including linking tax slabs to consumer price indexes to allow an automatic adjustment of rates.

The proposal to index tax rates to inflation can do away with the need to mention tax rates, even if they are unchanged, in the budget statement made by the finance minister every year.

Tax rates the committee is expected to propose are 10% for the slab of Rs 3 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, 20% for upto Rs 20 lakh and 30% beyond that. Three crore assesses will stand to benefit from not having to file returns if the committee's view of a Rs 5-lakh ceiling is accepted.Back




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