Pushed on the backfoot, government today told the Supreme Court that it has withdrawn its December 30 order rejecting Army Chief General V K Singh’s statutory complaint for treating his date of birth as May 10, 1951 instead of May 10, 1950.
The government’s decision to rescind the order came against the backdrop of the apex court stating that its December 30 order was vitiated and would be quashed if this was not done. Attorney General G E Vahanvati, however, made it clear that government was sticking to its July 21 and July 22 orders of last year turning down Gen Singh’s plea on the age row. While Gen Singh has maintained that his date of birth is May 10, 1951, the defence ministry has insisted that it should be treated as May 10, 1950.
During the hearing, which went beyond an hour in the packed court room, the judges put some tough questions to the Army Chief asking why he did not get his date of birth corrected with the UPSC which had recorded it as May 10, 1950.
It said all documents “at threshold” when Gen Singh joined IMA, NDA recorded his date of birth as May 10, 1950. “The documents at the threshold when you wanted to join IMA, NDA contains the date of birth as May 10, 1950.
“In all documents at the threshold you date of birth is recorded as May 10, 1950,” it noted. The court also said that the primary record for Gen Singh’s date of birth was with UPSC which never corrected it.
“If they (UPSC) don’t do what do you do,” the bench of R M Lodha and H L Gokhale asked senior advocate U U Lalit who is appearing for Gen Singh.
As the hearing in the case began, the bench wanted to know from the Attorney General as to what is the instruction he has about the December 30 order. Attorney General responded to the bench saying that the second part of the order is treated as withdrawn. On that the bench said, “you are withdrawing the order (of December 30).” The Attorney general said that “December 30 order goes but July 21 and 22 stands”.
When AG informed that the December 30 order has been withdrawn, the bench said “what was troubling us will not stand before us”. Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman cited three letters of Gen Singh to say that he has been unequivocally given his personal rights.
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