Thursday 17 October 2019, 04:32 AM
IF THE CHIEF MOVES THE COURT
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 1/12/2012 12:00:00 AM

The matter relating to Army Chief General V.K.Singh''s age continues to be a burning topic.  On one hand, the Ministry of Defence has categorically publicised its decision to take 1950 as the year of birth.  General VK Singh, on the other hand, has shown no sign of having accepted the verdict.  He has continued to demonstrate his resolve to uphold for his honour and integrity.
 
What then is likely to happen?  As of now, there is no change likely in Ministry''s stand.  Armed with the opinion of the Attorney General the Government has ruled against General VK Singh''s demand for change of year of birth to 1951.  The Government appears confident to face the Chief before a court of law.  General VK Singh has not announced that he would not seek judicial intervention.  As such, he retains many options.  He may decide to accept rejection of his complaint and quietly retire.  He may move a court.  He may do so while in chair.  Or he may resign and then file a petition.
 
In the event of the General putting in his papers before 30 May, 2012, the senior most Army Commander left in service would be Lieutenant General S.R.Ghosh of the Western Command.  He would then be one of those first to be eligible to be considered.  In the normal course, he was not in the race for lack of residual service in the present rank.  But he would, if the post of Army Chief falls vacant prior to 30 May this year.  His claim may override the candidature of Bikram Singh and KT Parnaik who have otherwise been in the news as likely successors.  Both are junior to Ghosh.  But  V.K. Singh''s leaving  early may not necessarily result in Ghosh''s elevation.  The Ministry on its part may like to ask the Vice Chief to take over as an acting head of the Army as an interim measure.
 
According to some indications, Army Chief may submit his resignation prior to his date of superannuation.  This would bring General S.R.Ghosh in the reckoning.  Such a move is believed to carry the tacit support of a senior leader of the ruling party ostensibly for political gains.
 
What if the General decides to not to put in his papers before 30th May, 2012 and moves court?  Such a step would have a number of major repercussions.  Regular Army is the final and ultimate defender of the state security.  Physical surveillance of the borders and, to a large extent, of the coast line and air space is also dependant upon the Army''s competence and alertness.  The Chief is under the military law, the commanding officer, of the entire Army.  He is the single window contact between the Government as also the commands, formations and units of the Army.

 As such, any divergence or rift between the Ministsry and him is bound to have its adverse effects on  the cohesive functioning necessary for national security. 

Two, Chief''s is not a ten to four job.  He is required to devote full time to his office.  Any deviation on his time and efforts towards his court battle is bound to be detrimental to the total interest and devotion needed on his part for the national defence. 

Three, in the event of any litigation; various documents like comments, declarations, factual details and affidavits etc. would need to be furnished by the top officials of the defence ministry.  Such an action on their part may surely give rise to bad blood between them. 

Four, by moving the court he would present an undesirable example to the rank and file who may similarly approach judiciary or higher authorities against any unfavourable decision by their immediate superiors.  Thus, the faith, trust and confidence of men in their officers would stand shaken.

Five, it is also likely to dilute the loyalty of the military.  In such an event the Government may perhaps be left with little option but to consider removal of the Chief though it would be unprecedented in the post independent history of India.
 
The frequent utterances by the Army Chief about his concern for his honour and integrity lack conviction.  Rejection of prayer with regard to any assertion or a claim may not have any reflection on the honour and integrity of the individual.  It may be a mere case of lesser weight of evidence produced by him as compared to that against him.

 Any view to the contrary, may lead to an erroneous impression that all the litigants who fail to succeed in getting full relief from administrative or judicial forums are devoid of honour and integrity.
 
It is nobody''s case that the relations between the military and civil officials of the Ministry are very cordial.  Resentment amongst men in uniform at the interference by the bureaucrats is a matter well known.  Many feel that the Army Chief could have rather taken a principled stand on any other weighty issue.

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IF THE CHIEF MOVES THE COURT

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भारत डिफेंस कवच की नई हिन्दी पत्रिका ‘डिफेंस मॉनिटर’ का ताजा अंक ऊपर दर्शाया गया है। इसके पहले दस पन्ने आप मुफ्त देख सकते हैं। पूरी पत्रिका पढ़ने के लिए कुछ राशि का भुगतान करना होता है। पुराने अंक आप पूरी तरह फ्री पढ़ सकते हैं। पत्रिका के अंकों पर क्लिक करें और देखें। -संपादक

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