Gen Singh is due to step down on May 31, 2012. There are reports that he is seriously considering stepping down after the debacle in court on Friday. The court had ordered Singh to withdraw his plea demanding that his date of birth be established as May 10, 1951. He had argued that there was an error in the govt and army records that led to the confusion.
The court commented, "The question before us is not about determination of the actual date of birth but it concerns recognition of a particular date of birth by the government in official service records."
Senior counsel for Gen Singh stated that his client will retire on May 31 as scheduled. Attorney General GE Vahanvati, while passing the order expressed the government's trust in the man and asked him not to quit. He has been quoted as saying to judges, "We have full confidence and faith in his ability to lead the Army and we hope and pray that this will not be an end to his service to the nation."
In spite of all this, the matter blowing out of proportion have caused distress to the Army Chief and may lead to his early termination of office. Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry has already set up a panel to determine who the next Army Chief will be. The panel includes senior-most Lieutenant Generals. Among the probable candidates for the top post are Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Bikram Singh, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen KT Parnaik and present Vice Chief of Army Lt Gen Shri Krishna Singh.
As per tradition, the senior-most officer from the panel is appointed as the Army Chief. In that case, Lt Gen Bikram Singh is the senior-most and the person most likely to adorn the top post. The next person senior is Lt Gen Parnaik.
In case Gen Singh calls it quits before May 31, the govt is ready with its contingency plans. In such a case, Western Army Commander Lt Gen Shankar Rajan Ghosh can also be considered for the appointment. He is the senior most in the Army after Singh.