Government rescinds order on Gen Singh's age ahead of SC hearing

Army chief Gen Vijay Kumar SinghAs the Supreme Court prepares to resume hearing Army chief Gen Vijay Kumar Singh's petition over the issue of his age, the government today withdrew its order issued on 30 December 2011 rejecting Gen Singh's statutory complaint on the issue.

The bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale had at the last hearing on 3 February warned the union government to withdraw its order rejecting Singh's representation to record his year of birth as 10 May 1951. The bench had prima facie found the order to be "vitiated" and said if it wasn't withdrawn, the court would quash it.

Gen Singh on Wednesday filed additional documents to strengthen his case. The bench had allowed his counsel Prabhjit Jauhar to file the fresh set of papers that included Singh's Indian Military Academy record and documents to show that Army Adjutant General's branch primarily maintained officers' records, and not the Military Service branch.

The Army chief has moved the apex court challenging ministry's two orders of 21 July and 30 December 2011 refusing to accept his plea to consider 1951 as his year of birth and not 1950 as recorded with the Military Service branch.

It is not exactly known what the government's strategy will be when the apex court takes up the case later in the day, but most reports suggest it is unlikely to budge from its stand that Gen Singh must retire in May this year.

If Gen Singh's contention is accepted, it would put off his retirement by a year, and throw the government's Army succession plans out of gear.