No axe to grind with govt over age issue: Army chief
Dismissing reports of rift with the Defence Ministry on the age row, Army Chief General V K Singh has said he has not thought of approaching the courts yet on the issue.
He said the issue over his date of birth has not affected the functioning or decision-making in the Service as it was only "concerning him and not the rest of the army".
The Defence Ministry had rejected his statutory complaint to change his date of birth from May 10, 1950 to May 10, 1951-- a step which would have given him an extra 10 months in office.
"There is no controversy or fight between me and the Defence Ministry. There are perceptional differences and that is a totally personal issue.... There is no rift between me and the Ministry. We are as cordial as we have ever been. I have not personally seen any rift," he said.
Gen Singh told this to journalists when asked if there was any rift or differences between the army and the Defence Ministry over his age issue.
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Image: Army Chief General V K Singh
'Not thinking of going to courts yet'
Asked if he would take legal recourse and approach the courts, the Army Chief said, "The thought has not occurred to me yet."
In recent past, media reports have suggested that the army chief was contemplating to move courts to get redressal on the age issue. On whether he was raising the issue of date of birth for his honour and integrity, Gen Singh said, "Integrity is an issue which I have flagged and it is totally a personal issue and that is where it ends."
Commenting on the age issue, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said the government "has gone by rules" in deciding the date of birth of Gen V K Singh.
"As far as legality and rules are concerned, sometimes you feel helpless. You have given to yourselves a legal framework and you can't escape from it," he said. The Minister said rules and legal framework affect everybody in the same manner.
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Image: Law Minister Salman Khurshid
'Unauthorised and illegal'
The army chief has two sets of date of births in official records. The Military Secretary branch records it to be May 10, 1950 whereas the Adjutant General's branch has May 10, 1951.
The Defence Ministry has rejected his claim to accept May 10, 1951 on the basis of submission by Attorney General, who has thrice opined against him on the issue. The controversy around his date of birth came up after the army on basis of a Right To Information reply changed the date of birth of Gen Singh to May 10, 1951.
Later on, the Ministry in an order on July 21 declared it to be "null and void and non est" and "unauthorised and illegal".