Asserting his right to retire with dignity, army chief Gen. VK Singh has said in his petition before Supreme Court that he had accepted 1950 as the year of birth in organisational interest after then Chief of Army Staff personally assured that the issue would be resolved.
Singh, who has been raising the issue of discrepancy in his age in records since 1966, re-agitated after the Chief of Army Staff failed to resolve it. According to his petition, filed by counsel Puneet Bali and Prabhjit Jauhar, Singh had accepted 1950 as year of birth in his letter dated January 24, 2008. However, his petition said it was “as desired by the then Chief of Army Staff and in organisational interest”.
A day later, a confidential letter by the Military Secretary (MS) branch, which maintained his date of birth (DoB) as May 10, 1950 and not May 10, 1951 as in the Adjutant General (AG) branch, admitted that the records in the two branches were not reconciled.
Another letter written by the MS on January 30, 2008 accepted that Singh’s records with the AG branch reflected his year of birth as 1951. It further acknowledged that the officer (Singh) was under the mistaken impression that the records with MS would have been corrected. There was no malafide intention on the officer’s part in continuing to indicate his DoB as May 10, 1951, the letter stated.
Singh claimed MS records are maintained in secrecy and unavailable for scrutiny. An army officer has access to records in the AG branch, he said. Therefore, according to him, he wasn’t aware of the anomaly in the MS record.
The petition further recalled the two occasions when the chief had personally got the dates rectified. The first took place when Singh had filled up the UPSC form in 1966 before joining the NDA. He got it corrected once again in 1969 when the Indian Military Academy (IMA) had mentioned 1950 as his year of birth in the dossier.
Though he never received any formal communication from the MS, Singh claimed his colleague had in 1985 intimated him about the MS records registering 1950 as his year of birth while preparing the Army List in 1975.
The petitioner further claimed Singh had immediately contacted the concerned department that assured him his DOB was May 10, 1951 in the records. However, as per the government there is no written communication by Singh seeking this clarification.