Petitioners claim apex court was misled on next army chief (Lead)May 29th, 2012 - 11:06 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) A group of petitioners was moved in the Supreme Court Tuesday alleging that the government misled the court during the hearing on their earlier plea challenging the selection of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next army chief.
The petitioners include former navy chief Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, former chief election commissioner N. Gopalaswami, other retired defence officers and civil servants and concerned citizens.
The court dismissed their earlier plea April 23.
The fresh petition said that “blatantly false and misleading” statements were made by the government earlier and sought a review of the court order dismissing their plea seeking the quashing of the decision of a cabinet committee to appoint Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next army chief.
The review petition said that after the dismissal of their petition by the apex court, they “sought opinion from the people working in the army, civil servants posted with the United Nations, and also received reply/information to the applications under RTI (Right To Information) Act filed by them.”
“Based on these opinion, information and documents they have come to realise, that unfortunately and to their utter shock and surprise this Hon’ble court has been misled by the respondent authorities..,” the review petition said.
The petition said that as the Indian Army UN peacekeeping contingent in the Congo under the command of the then Major General Bikram Singh was “highly indisciplined and had functioned more as mercenaries than military personnel bringing shame to the country in the international arena.” The troops were also accused of sexual misconduct.
The then Maj. Gen. Bikram Singh was the Eastern Divisional Commander of United Nations Organisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONCU).
The then Maj. Gen. Bikram Singh was the deputy force commander of the mission. However, the government in the hearing on earlier petition described his role as that of an international civil servant.
The petition referred to the apex court verdict in former chief vigilance commissioner P.J. Thomas’ case where his appointment was set aside as not existing in law.
It said that eligibility was not the only criterion but the institutional integrity too must weigh in making such appointments.
Referring to an alleged staged shootout killing case in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and another matter in a court of inquiry in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, the petition said when cases of Thomas and Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh were compared they pointed to two separate standards of institutional integrity.
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Tags: apex court, army chief, bikram singh, cabinet committee, chief election commissioner, civil servants, concerned citizens, democratic republic of the congo, divisional commander, force commander, indian army, international arena, mercenaries, misleading statements, republic of the congo, right to information act, sexual misconduct, un peacekeeping, united nations organisation, utter shock