The government on Friday shot down speculation of a possible behind-the-scene compromise to end the confrontation between army chief General VK Singh and the government in the country's top court over the age row.
In his first public comments on the controversy, defence minister AK Antony said the government will wait for the Supreme Court's final verdict, an indication that the Centre would rather fight a legal battle than work out a compromise.
It also indicates the government doesn't plan to take drastic action against the chief.
The minister said he felt 'sorry and sad' about the issue.
Asked why the government allowed the controversy to linger on, Antony said, "The government is maintaining maximum restraint and patience because such issues cannot be handled in a sensational manner through public debate."
The controversy erupted in 2006 when two different dates of birth for Singh were detected in the records of the Military Secretary's branch (1950) and the Adjutant General's branch (1951).
In his petition, Singh has accused the government of violating his fundamental right by not allowing him to change his year of birth. The government rejected Singh's complaint to get his date of birth changed on December 30, 2011.
"The army headquarters and the government take decisions many a time but now there are questions. There are constitutional forums to question the decisions of government," said Antony.
While government officials argue that the age row was satisfactorily resolved in 2008 when Singh accepted the earlier date of birth, the chief has indicated in his petition that this was done under pressure.
"I have always been against public debate on this matter, but unfortunately some of you are celebrating it. This is not an issue for celebration," the minister said.