Government downplays Army chief's SC plea over birth date

Gen V K SinghWith army commander-in-chief Gen V K Singh taking the government to the Supreme Court over the controversy surrounding his age may have surprised many, but the government has downplayed the move.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, "If this has happened then it is between the person who has gone to the court and the court. How can we comment on this matter?"

In an unprecedented move, Gen Singh on Monday took the government to the apex court, challenging its decision declaring him a year older than he says he is. Accordingly, the government is insisting that the general retire 31 on May rather than a year later.

Gen Singh in his writ petition, the first-ever filed by a serving army chief against the government, has challenged the rejection of his statutory complaint by defence minister A K Antony on 30 December 2011. He also sought a stay on the implementation of the ministry of defence's 31 July 2011 order that fixed his date of birth as 10 May 1950.

The court will take a decision in about a week's time, and experts feel it may refer him to a lower court or direct the government to respond.

As the apex court mulls over his plea, the general may seek a stay on the process of appointing his successor.