There seems to be no end to the controversy surrounding the authenticity of the law degree of Major General Nilendra Kumar, Judge Advocate General (JAG), the Army's chief judicial officer.
Kumar's position as JAG now appears to have become untenable, with the Ministry of Defence filing an affidavit before the Delhi High Court that contradicts Kumar's claims of obtaining a law degree as per Bar Council of India (BCI) rules.
The rules mandate 66 per cent attendance during an academic session before taking examinations.
The ministry's affidavit came in response to a petition filed in January by Neterpal Singh, a clerk with the Jat regiment since 1995, who alleged that Kumar was illegally appointed as JAG since his law degree from the Lucknow University in 1982 was obtained in contravention of BCI rules. Kumar has, however, already filed an affidavit denying the allegation.
Although there is no dispute regarding the year in which he completed his degree, the petitioner has raised questions about his attendance in the third year. As per the information with the ministry, Kumar completed the 12-month academic session within four months. The Major General had received his third year admit card on May 25, 1982 and took his exams in August.
If these dates are correct, the petitioner states, it was impossible for JAG to have had recorded the mandatory 66 per cent attendance, as per BCI rules.
Contrary to Kumar's claim that he had taken the necessary clearances before enrolling himself into an LLB course, the ministry has informed the court that it has no record of the Major General either intimating or seeking prior approval.
The ministry has also contradicted Kumar's claim regarding the year during which he completed the first and second year of the law course.