Army chief files additional documents in apex courtFebruary 8th, 2012 - 11:18 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) Indian Army chief, Gen. V.K.Singh Wednesday filed more documents in the apex court in support of his plea for restoring his date of birth in official records as May 10, 1951, as mentioned in his school board examination certificate.
“We have filed certain army orders and other documents in support of the army chief’s plea, seeking restoration of his date of birth,” Gen. Singh’s lawyer Puneet Bali told IANS.
The documents were filed just two days before the apex court hearing Friday in response to the court’s question if Gen. Singh would approach the Armed Forces Tribunal or the Delhi High Court or would like the apex court to hear his case.
In the hearing of Gen. Singh’s plea on Feb 3, the court had rapped the government for the way it has handled the age row, saying the entire process of deciding his year of birth was “vitiated”.
A bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice H.L. Gokhale had observed that it found an “administrative defect” in the decision-making process on Gen. Singh’s age. It questioned how the same legal officer could be asked for advice twice over on the same issue, making the process “vitiated”.
The defence ministry had last December rejected the general’s statutory complaint on setting his year of birth as 1950, meaning that he will have to retire May 31 this year. Prior to this, the government had also ruled July 21, 2011, that his date of birth was May 10, 1950.
In both cases, the government had taken the opinion of the Attorney General G. Vahanvati, which the court felt was bad in administrative law and which “will not withstand the test of principle of natural justice and principle of ultra vires”.
“Once you (attorney general) have committed an opinion to an authority to decide on the law, how can you again give your opinion in deciding the complaint? The problem is fundamental,” the judges had told Vahanvati, who appeared for the defence ministry.
“We are not concerned with the correctness of the decision. But the decision-making process is vitiated.”
While court had given three options to Gen. Singh, it also gave the option of withdrawing the December order to the government after Vahanvati contended that the complaint filed by the army chief was not maintainable yet the government decided it on merit.
The entire controversy is rooted in the army’s adjutant general’s branch recording Gen. Singh’s date of birth as May 10, 1951, and military secretary’s branch record showing it as May 10, 1950.
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Tags: administrative law, apex, apex court, army orders, attorney general, bali, bench, date of birth, defence ministry, delhi high court, examination certificate, gokhale, indian army, lodha, natural justice, New Delhi, plea, principle, puneet, ultra vires