SC to hear PIL on Army chief age row; wants 1951 as DOB

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Army Chief General VK Singh
New Delhi, Jan 20: With the Army Chief's age row causing headache in the Centre, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court by an ex-servicemen, the Grenadiers association seeking that the Army Chief General VK Singh's date of birth be fixed at 1951.

The matter had taken an ugly political turn when Singh took the Union government to court over the age row. In a first such instance, the difference between the Army chief and the government was split wide open. The govt expressed its displeasure by saying that such move sets an unhealthy precedent and has filed a caveat in court against both pleas. Singh, has however maintained that he wants to exit office in a dignified manner and that this was matter of honour and pride and not of tenure.

PM Manmohan Singh refused to make any comments on the issue and added that the case was a "sensitive one".

Gen VK Singh, a veteran of 1971 Indo-Pak war has been maintaining that his date of birth is May 10, 1951 which is mentioned in his matriculation certificate. The Defence ministry however argues that his Date of birth is May 10, 1950 citing the entry made in the UPSC form for the NDA.

The difference in the date will impact the date he demits from office as well. If his date of birth is taken as 1951, he will have to retire in Mar 2013 and if 1950 is accepted, he will have to retire in May 2012. The difference of a year will affect on who will be chosen as his successor as the next Army chief.

If Singh retires on May 31, 2012, then Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Bikram Singh will take over as the next Army Chief. But on the other hand, if Singh steps out in Mar 2013, then Northern Army commander Lieutenant General KT Parnaik will take the top post. This is because Bikram Singh will also retire in 2012.

In the event of Gen Singh removed or resigning for the post before May 31, 2012, this will pave the way for Western Command Chief Lieutenant General Shankar Ghosh becoming the 27th Chief of the Indian Army. Ghosh is the senior most serving officer in the Army.

OneIndia News

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