New Delhi, Jan 20: Locked in a confrontation with Army Chief Gen V K Singh, the government tonight ruled out any compromise with him over his age issue and left it to the Supreme Court to decide on the matter.
Demonstrating its tough stance, the government also made it clear that there was no move to appoint Gen Singh as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), a post which is at conceptual stage and is proposed to be above the heads of the three Defence Services.
“No compromise formula is being worked out,” a government source said while rejecting reports which suggested that such a move was in the works.
There have been reports which claimed that discussions were being held to work out a formula to molify Gen Singh and avert hearing of his petition by the Supreme Court.
The reports suggested that appointing Gen Singh as the first Chief of Defence Staff was one of the options being discussed with him.
The assertion came hours after Defence Minister A K Antony, breaking his silence on the issue, said he was “sorry and sad” over and contended that the government will wait for the final decision of the Supreme Court which has been moved by the Army Chief.
Noting that there are constitutional forums to question a government's decision, he said, “The Army headquarters and government take decisions many a time but now there are questions...there are constitutional forums to question the decisions of government.”
He pointed out that the government's decision “has now been questioned and matter is before the Supreme Court. Lets all wait for the verdict of the SC. Please avoid controversy and let us wait for the final verdict of the SC.”
Antony said government was exercising “maximum restraint and patience” on the age row and contended that the matter could not be settled in a sensational manner. “I have always been against public debate on this, but unfortunately some of you are celebrating it. This is not an issue for celebration.
“I feel sorry and sad about the controversy. That is why inspite of something being misunderstood, I was keeping silence because I believe this is not an issue that can be decided on public platform or (through) public debate,” he told reporters when asked about the row surrounding Army chief's age.
Replying to a question as to why the government allowed the issue to linger on for seven months, he said, “Our government is keeping maximum restraint and patience because these issues cannot be handled in a sensational manner through public debate.”
Gen Singh filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the government's rejection of his claim on his date of birth.
He says his date of birth is May 10, 1951 as per his matriculation certificate but the Defence Ministry recently rejected his contention, arguing that his date of birth entered in some Army records was May 10,1950.
As per the government decision, he will retire on May 31 this year but if his contention is upheld, he will get a tenure till March 2013.
In his own petition, the Army Chief has contended that he was treated by the government in a manner which reflects total lack of procedure and principles of natural justice in deciding his age.