SC to hear PIL on Army chief's age today

The Supreme Court will hear today a public interest litigation seeking a directive to the government to declare the date of birth of Army chief Gen V K Singh as 10 May 1951, as the date on his school leaving certificate.

Gen Singh too has filed a separate writ petition invoking the Supreme Court's extraordinary jurisdiction and asking the court to call for his records and clarify the year of birth. This however is unlikely to come up today.

The PIL, filed by The Grenadiers Association (Rohtak Chapter), quotes former Chief Justice of India J S Verma's opinion that the controversy created over the age of Gen Singh may be an effort to ''edge'' him out to avoid ''inconvenient truths'' from surfacing.

It reproduces Justice (retd) Verma's opinion, sought by the Army, which says ''recent media reports give this impression of Gen V K Singh not sparing even the highest in the armed forces for their involvement in the housing and land scams''.

''I am afraid edging out such an Army chief before the end of his legitimate tenure on this pretext may give the public impression of silencing the voice of an 'inconvenient truth'. That would be unfortunate and detrimental to the national interest,'' the petition quotes Verma.

''Three more former chief justices of India ... in their opinions have categorically supported the principle that dates of birth can only be determined on the basis of school leaving certificates,'' said the petition.