The latest observation of the law ministry of India about the date of birth of Gen. VK Singh puts their defense ministry in quite an awkward situation. His date of birth show that he needs to retire by May 31, 2012 and not on May 31, 2013. That is because the actual date of birth of Gen. VK Singh is actually May 10, 1950 and not a year after. Gen. VK Singh has 2 dates of birth in his army records but even though he had been commissioned since 1970 in the army, it was just in the year of 2006 that the military had asked Gen. Singh about his 2 records of birth.
The army rules of 1954 had stated that if there is any change on an army’s date of birth, this can only be entertained in 2 years upon joining the military. This had further put Gen. Singh in a hard position. He said though that he immediately made the necessary correction on his date of birth in his army records in 1971 just after he got his school leaving certification. However, the ministry also found that the list of officers for the army that was published for 1974 to 1975 had mentioned that his date of birth is 1950 which is contradicting to his claims. He was also given 3 promotions based on his 1950 DoB that led him to having an army senior position but suddenly he had realized that the date of birth he has was wrong.
2 undertakings by the defence ministry of the Indian army had given him both in 2008 and in 2009 that he must abide with the decision of the army to treat his 1950 date of birth as his actual year of birth. The law ministry of the Indian army had also objected seriously to the claims of Gen. Singh that his application form was filled up not by himself but by his teacher at that time. Law ministry of India had also questioned the decision of the army not to seek their approval but go directly for a legal advisor’s advice regarding the RTI or Right to Information about the DoB query for General VK Singh that was filed just this February. They are also objecting the decision of the army to refer the issue to 2 of their former chief justices. As a fact, the issue about Gen. Singh’s date of birth is tainting the image of the army and the Indian government itself as each day pass by.
Just this April, pressure from the media had exerted to the defence ministry to quickly resolve the controversy regarding the actual age of Gen. Singh. It was also published on newspapers the report that the defence ministry had committed to clear the case just within 2 days but it’s already June, 2 months after, the issue is still hanging.
There are other matters that the UPA government seems to be confused with as well. The reason is simply because of the lack of making decisions which is profound and the defence ministry’s actions are shrouded with secrecy. It’s not even clear why the matter was even raised at all. It’s been said that the basis for the motion was because of the RTI enquire that had been sent over to the defence ministry but this enquiry’s content is not made public.
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The RTI is, at any case, disposing relevant info to applicants who are given the option to raise the issue to court or to official channels if they want on the basis of access to information. The defence ministry is going to the mode of making corrections where it is not even required. They should have just given RTI applicants the details and put the issue to rest. There shouldn’t have been any reason why the defence ministry had to rake up such an issue when it should have been resolved just before the appointment. This is causing harm both for the functioning and the morale of the army. They are human beings with emotions and they are not going to handle the suspense that doesn’t seem to end. The credibility loss of India towards the circle of international defence is already immeasurable. They’ve been a laughing stock in the arena of other countries. The only good side to this though is that those that are affected had remained to be quiet regarding the issue thus there had been no media circus whether there are claims or counter claims about the matter. But this patience will not be imminent in the case when the DoB will be changed and this is going to be a huge embarrassment to the country and its government. The defence ministry does not only have an issue about the age of the chief but they are also intrigued because of the delay in the promotion approval for Lt. General by the latest batch of contenders which made several posts vacant for months. Even an officer who is to take the position of Army commander is now in the shadows and can’t continue work as an effect of this lopsided policy. His post was given to a newly commissioned officer and he should be appointed afterwards as the Army Commander but that position is still occupied and will be retiring in a month. The result, this senior officer of the Indian army is just wasting time playing golf as there is no work for him yet. The defence ministry needs to do some work to clear these issues to prevent them from being the laughing stock of many countries for an even longer time.