New Delhi, Jan 16: Opinion was divided among experts and veterans over Army Chief General V K Singh's decision to approach the Supreme Court against the government on his age issue.
“An Army Chief going to court on personal matters is not good for the force or the nation as a whole,” Gen Singh's predecessor Gen Deepak Kapoor told PTI but declined to comment specifically on the age issue.
Asked about the age row, he said this had come up during the tenure of Gen J J Singh as Army Chief.
Talking to PTI former IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, who had also advised Gen Singh on the age issue earlier as a senior in the Chiefs of Staffs Committee, said, “I think it is a personal issue and he should do whatever he thinks is right.”
“As a citizen of the country, he has the right to go to the court,” he said.
However, former foreign service officer K C Singh termed it as a “dangerous precedent” and cited earlier incidents where senior government servants had put in their papers instead of approaching courts on official matters.
Terming the development “extremely unfortunate”, another ex-IAF chief ACM S K Kaul said, “The matter should have been settled between the government and Army chief with both sides agreeing to some meeting point.”
Without taking sides on the issue, he said, “I feel there are so many pending issues to jostle with.” Lieutenant General (retd) Satish Nambiar said the Army Chief has every right to approach the court as citizen of this country.
“Date of Birth can not be subject of discussion,” he said.
Maj Gen Sheru Thapliyal (retd) blamed the Army Chief for the controversy over his date of birth along with the Army headquarters and the Military Secretary's branch.
“All three are guilty of letting the issue grow out of proportion. But what was Gen Singh doing for the last 38 years? Why did he not go to court earlier and what prompted him to take this step now? He himself is guilty of this situation. He should have dealt with it earlier,” Maj Gen Thapliyal told PTI.
Lt Gen Shankar Prasad targeted Gen Singh and said he appears to be fighting for himself.
“I wish he had fought with the same vigour for entire service on 6th Pay Commission or for modernization plan of Army. I am told IAF modernization plans are on track and Army plans are behind,” he said, adding that the matter should not have been allowed to come to this stage.
Ex-Indian Navy Chief Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, who was sacked by the NDA government, said the issue with Gen Singh's age is not of his Date of Birth but that of manipulated succession.
“It is not a case of Date of Birth, there is no question of facts. But it is a case of manipulated succession and slur being caused on the office of Army Chief,” he said.