Army chief General VK Singh should not move the court to settle a row over his date of birth while still in service since it involves the honour of the army, former Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said.
Amid speculation that Singh could move court to overturn the government’s decision of not allowing him to change his date of birth five month’s ahead of his scheduled retirement, Major said Singh should resign if he planned to challenge the government’s stand.
Singh has been fighting a protracted battle to effect a change in his date of birth from May 10, 1950 to May 10, 1951. This could extend his tenure as army chief by almost a year and change the complexion of the army’s hierarchy.
Major told HT from Bangalore, “If I were in his (Singh’s) place, I would resign if I felt very strongly about the issue and then move the court. I wouldn’t seek legal recourse as chief.”
In a setback for General Singh, the defence ministry last week rejected his statutory complaint to get his date of birth changed. The controversy arose in May 2006 when two different dates of birth were detected in the records of the Military Secretary’s branch (1950) and the Adjutant General’s branch (1951).
Former Navy chief Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, whose tenure as chief was cut short by the NDA government in December 1998, said, “The matter has become a huge embarrassment for the army and the government. It doesn’t really matter whether Singh goes to court or not.”
Amarinder’s comment personal: Congress
The Congress on Tuesday sought to disapprove the remarks of former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh over the age row involving army Chief VK Singh.
“He has already clarified that this was his personal view. Generally, politicians should not comment on internal affairs of armed forces,” party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.
Earlier, Singh clarified that he had written a letter to defence minister AK Antony on the issue only “in his personal capacity”. On his part, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari sought to downplay the controversy.