March 07, 2012

“The SC Side-Stepped The DoB Issue.... Had I Resigned, It’d Have Been A Self-Goal”

Gen VK Singh “You lend me some of the power you acquired through religious brainwashing, and I will lend you the power I acquired through conquest and administrative control,” a British official to a Brahmin in 19 century. “-- justice delivery has now been reduced to a mere business in the eyes of the people. ---be it lawyers or judges, have we forgotten our task towards society?-- that judges these days are bent more towards counting the number of cases they have disposed of, instead of impartial delivery of justice,-- that due to the harassment a common man suffers in his pursuit of justice, 95 per cent of the masses avoid going to courts at all and choose to suffer silently--the five per cent who do go wait in queue for many long years and empty out their pockets to hire a lawyer. It is a nightmare for the common man to approach a higher court,-- that this is the reason people have started taking the law in their hands --throwing light on the common problem of delayed justice, -- rued that the enormous delay in trials has shattered the public’s confidence in the judiciary ,“ Supreme Court judge Justice G S Singhvi, on ‘The responsibility of judicial system towards society’ on at a seminar on September 28, 2008 in Chandigarh, I had indicated in my note at the beginning of the controversy about the Gen VK Singh’s DOB, the under current of dissatisfaction among military officers during my 1976 stay at NDC about Sikh officers helping each other out. ( Ask non Jat Sikhs how they are treated by Jat Sikhs even in Gurudwaras ) Somehow I have been totally secular and anti-castist , in fact somewhat disdainful about vain Rajputs for their inability to band together and look after their interests as a caste , a requirement to survive in India’s present day caste ridden society .And it is getting worse since our polity remains feudal with medieval practices . This becoming worse with our electoral system ( with SP getting ruling majority in UP with 29% votes ).Is is a representative government ! Apart from a basically feudal/medieval British with first past the goal electoral system, few countries in the world use this electoral system .( A success of British brainwashing) The caste system is worse than apartheid . If a Sacchar Committee is set up , it will bring out how Thakurs have been kept down .Remember , when Sanjay Gandhi had brought in Rajput leaders like VP Singh , Arjun Singh , Solanki and others , the tallest leader of Brahmins Kamlapati Tripathi had lambasted this development .The Thakurs were brought in for their lathates ie stick wielders so that Congress’s poor dalit and Muslim voters would not be stopped from casting their votes by stick wielders from Jats , Yadavas and other OBCs .Since most castes even sub-castes have organised their parties, including the OBCs, miniscule minority Brahmins are using OBCs like Modis in Bihar and Gujarat and Lodhs like Uma Bharti and earlier Kalyan Singh in cowbelt. So how can a thakur with origins from Bapora , a village in Haryana can be sophisticated enough to match the machinations of other castes . As for Muslims , all parties specially Cong has used its Ashraff Muslim leaders ie Brahmins among Muslims, those who claim descent from outsiders /invaders ie Arabs, Persians, Turks and Afghans and high caste coverts , mostly Rajputs . The Sikhs have not done badly .When not given their alleged share , they can always claim , ‘Akal Panth in danger ‘ as sometimes upper caste Muslims claim , when denied something , Islam in danger . It would appear that Gen JJ Singh (governor in north east for services rendered ) along with the likes of Gen Deepk Kapoor and his tainted cronies organized this whole charade in 2006 ( who was PM then !) so that Gen Bikram Singh , a Sikh can ascend the top military job . Unless the caste system ( which promotes corruption , nepotism and lets conflict of interest flourish ) is destroyed , India will remain an ordinary state ,not taken seriously .We are not progressing towards nationhood, equality before law .In Europe and elsewhere where the concept of nationhood evolved and was forged with bloodshed , before the revolutions ( in France, Russia, Turkey ,China, Iran etc ) the unifying concept of nation was achieved by the destruction of Barons .Yadava chieftains Mamtas. Jaylalithas. , Patnaiks ,Akalis and others are like feudal barons . Indian polity is only slouching towards feudal baron level . The Supreme Court should have dismissed the General VK Singh’s petition or delivered justice ie adjudicated on DOB. Below is an interview with Gen VK Singh in Outlook , one of the better magazines . EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW OUTLOOK 7 March 2012 “The SC Side-Stepped The DoB Issue.... Had I Resigned, It’d Have Been A Self-Goal”Speaking out for the first time, the Army Chief clears the air on the fracas over his date of birth and many other issuesCHANDER SUTA DOGRA INTERVIEWS V.K. SINGH The fracas over General V.K. Singh’s date of birth has held the nation in thrall for over a year. Now, on his instructions, the army’s military secretariat has issued him retirement orders for May 31, 2012, even as the MoD keeps asking the army to amend his year of birth to 1950. By initiating his own retirement orders, the general has made it clear he is ready to demit office in May. Speaking out for the first time, he clears the air on this and many other issues in an interview with Chander Suta Dogra. Has the decision of the Supreme Court given a closure to the issue of your date of birth (DOB)?Look, I was born in 1951 and that’s a fact that no one can change. Ever since this was made into an issue in 2006, I have followed the accepted line of redressal and tried to get what seemed to be a minor mistake reconciliated.In retrospect, would you still call it a minor mistake?Yes. The inadvertent error, I made while filling in the UPSC form was almost instantly rectified and corrected even before I joined the National Defence Academy. I was commissioned into the Army with all records reflecting my correct date of birth. There was no controversy over this, as both the military secretariat (MS) and adjutant general (AG) branch records reflected the same—all my promotions up to the rank of Brigadier, Major General and Lt General in 2005 were based on this DOB. Unfortunately, post-2006, a clerical error in the Army List was blown out of all proportion. The date in this list was based on the incorrect UPSC form. It was supposed to have been verified against my school leaving documents, but this was not done. Even the subsequent correction made almost immediately was not taken note of.Your decision to withdraw the petition gave the impression that you are satisfied with what the court had to say.After my Statutory Complaint was rejected by the ministry of defence (MoD) on 30 December 2011, I moved the Supreme Court. On 3rd February, the court questioned the decision making process which led to it being turned down and opined that it went against the principles of natural justice. The Attorney General was advised to withdraw the order. On 10th February, the Attorney General withdrew the MoD’s order against the Statutory Complaint but tacitly admitted that my actual DOB was 1951 and that the MoD was opposing it only ‘on a matter of principle’. After that there was nothing else to be said in court especially since the Judges had also indicated that the SC did not want to get into the actual date of birth. Now, unless the MoD’s decision-making process is spelt out which explains the rationale behind still pegging my YOB as 1950, how can I challenge it. I therefore withdrew my petition and have decided to wait for the MoD to give its reasons afresh.Does that mean that the issue is still open?The SC Order has created more confusion, without addressing the main issue. It talks of the Statutory Complaint being divided into two parts—the process of decision making on the one hand and maintainability on the other. The MoD has argued that since the decision has been taken by them to peg my YOB as 1950, I must accept this regardless. This goes against the principles of natural justice.But the impression was that you had lost the battle and that the SC had ruled against February, the media did not report it and everyone missed its import. It is an innocuous order that leaves recognition of the DOB to the competent authority based on records. The media was reporting obiter dicta in a highly exaggerated manner.Soon after the SC order, it was widely speculated that you would resign, since the court did not uphold your date of birth as May 10th 1951. It was seen as a loss of face by many of those who were supporting you and they felt that your resignation was the only way forward. When that did not happen and you proceeded on an official visit to the UK, it became clear that you perceive the issue differently. Would you like to clear the air?It would be dishonest to say that I was not under pressure to resign. Even my closest advisors were affected by the media interpretation and yes, I was extremely disappointed that the SC had not effectively closed the issue. Many commentators were looking at this matter as a classic case of strained civil-military relations, and drew parallels with the unfinished resignation of General Thimayya, to predict my resignation. But I see the age issue as something that I and the Army have to address, and we will do it, once we are given a legal order. I feel that it is important for us to put into place systems that ensure that such cases are never repeated in future. Let us remember that as the COAS I have a responsibility towards the Army and its men and have to attend to the unfinished tasks that I had set out for myself and its men, I cannot quit until I complete what I have started. Organisational interests are supreme.Your daughter Mrinalini in an interview given to our magazine has pointed a finger at your predecessor, General J.J. Singh as being the architect of this DOB controversy. From what she says, you were apparently deceived into ‘accepting’ 1950 as your year of birth.Ever since this issue came up in 2006, not once have I accepted 1950 as my date of birth. ‘Acceptance’ would imply a closure of the matter. In 2006 it seemed as if a clerical error in the Army List needed to be reconciled with existing MS and AG records. I had no idea then, that it would be the other way around—that the MS and AG records would be required to conform to the Army List! Many people say that I should have tackled the problem when it originated and not waited to take up the issue until I was the COAS. The fact is that it has been an ongoing issue since it first came up. To take selective sentences and quote them out of context and say that there are three ‘acceptance’ letters falsifies facts. The then Chief, MS and Judge Advocate General (JAG) set into motion something that is against all accepted norms. They should explain their decision as to why the Army List took precedence over the MS and also the AG branch records only in my case. The problem got aggravated when the MoD chose to endorse this line without going into ‘why’ this was being done.Are you saying that the decision taken (by Gen JJ Singh) in 2006 was illegal ?It has its ramifications. Even if I was to say that I don’t contest it, it cannot be implemented because even now the SC order does not say anything about the legality of two different dates of birth.There is a constituency out there— the defence brotherhood—which had begun to feel that this issue will have a salutary effect on the civilian bureaucracy’s propensity to meddle in service matters. They had begun to look upon you as someone who is standing up to the establishment and giving as good as you got. Do you have a word for them?Being the Chief of the Indian Army, does not insulate me from public opinion and I am aware of the fact that many felt that I was wrong in taking the fight to the MoD. The tendency after reaching senior ranks in the army is to avoid rocking the boat. But if I, as the Chief did not stand up for what is correct—and that is what I have always done—what sort of a message would I be sending to the rank and file ?Similarly, I felt that despite the overwhelming opinion that I should resign over the SC Order, it was necessary for me to stay the course. The court has side stepped the issue. But, it certainly does not clear the way for any illegal order to be given to the Army. Had I resigned, it would have been a self-goal and in the long run, against the interests of the organization.What do you think could be the motives of those who designed this conspiracy against you?I have not used the word conspiracy at any stage. As far as I am concerned, there is no controversy either. I know when I was born and I think the entire country also knows that by now.It is being said that the issue has created a trust deficit between the army and the government. Do you think this will impact civil military relations?It’s a complicated issue and strained civil military relations are a global phenomenon. In India Civil-military relations have evolved along certain unique lines since Independence. First let me make one point very clear. In India, the Armed Forces have always remained an apolitical institution; one of the pillars of our democracy. Having said that, we must understand that we have a standing Army that operates under some of the most difficult conditions in the world, be it on the Siachen Glacier, in Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh or elsewhere. The system has to be far more responsive for us to perform effectively. Unfortunately we are bogged down with unnecessary hurdles. Timely replacement of weapon systems, ammunition, logistical requirements, an acute shortage of officers are the more obvious areas, that are affected.Does that mean that interference by civilian bureaucracy is impacting higher defence security?The system has evolved along certain lines, the nucleus of which was laid out in the 1960s. There is a lot of merit in it. But national security cannot be mutually exclusive. If you do not include the three chiefs while formulating policy you will not get the right inputs. The danger of this is, that it can lead to a flawed outputs. It is important that the systems that are in place should be transparent and not give the impression of a manipulative machinery which is more of a stranglehold.Seniority based on DoB at the Army Commanders level in the selection of the COAS has been meticulously followed since General Vaidya superseded Gen Sinha. Is there a better system?This needs to be clarified. Seniority is based on one’s IC number and not on one’s DOB. Promotions in the army are not by DOB but on the selection process and seniority in IC number. The DOB comes into play only for the purpose of residual service to become corps commander or an Army Commander and not for determining seniority.Your tenure has been known for the tussle over your DOB. A critical refrain against you is, that you have spent all your energies as COAS on resolving this matter instead of addressing the many pressing issues concerning the army.I can’t stop people from making allegations. But I would like to clarify at this stage that, I have continued to work towards my vision for the Army, through all this. The financial year 2010-2011 was the first year in the history of our Army when we spent our entire capital budget. I have improved the lot of army jawans by improving their clothing and bringing parity in their scale of rations with officers. I have also proposed an alternate system to the culture of ‘sahayaks’ in the army on the pattern followed by the airforce and navy where we can make use of non combatants instead. More importantly, I have attempted greater transparency and accountability across all ranks.The army is in the process of raising some new divisions and possibly another strike Corps. But where is the military hardware and the manpower required to raise these new formations ? There is an apprehension that even with better technology the present numerical strength will be stretched. Is anything being done to address these issues ?The government has sanctioned two additional infantry divisions and the requisite manpower for them has also been sanctioned. Manpower even otherwise is not a problem for us except at the officer level. Here too, the present situation is that all our officer training academies are overflowing and if this trend continues for another few years the officer shortage will disappear.I have also proposed a sponsored education scheme for those applicants who make it past the selection procedure, but cannot be inducted as the training academies can take in a fixed numbers. Around 800 such candidates are left out each year and they can be absorbed into the short service stream after educating them at government expense.How much of an impediment are middlemen and kickbacks in fast tracking procurement of new hardware for the army ?The new defence procurement procedures which have been put in place are supposed to cater for all this. But often when there are competing vendors, their representatives in India apply pulls and pressures which also includes sending anonymous complaints about each other. They woo people incharge of procurements, including MPs, which queers the pitch. If the mechanism in place is strictly followed and once a decision to go in for a particular weapon system is taken, we should go ahead and get it without getting influenced by complaints.The army has steadfastly refused to get involved in fighting Maoists in the affected states. It is however establishing a Counter Insurgency Warfare School over an area of about 900 sq kilometers in Chattisgarh. What will be the impact of having such a huge training establishment in the heart of Maoist affected areas ? Many feel it will the first contact point in the army’s engagement with the Maoists.The Maoist problem is a result of socio economic factors and is not a secessionist movement. It must be dealt with by the law and order machinery of the state governments and the paramilitary forces. We are however, assisting them in capacity building, training and some logistic support by the Air Force. The counter insurgency school in Chattisgarh will train these paramilitary units on the same pattern as army units are trained before deployment in counter insurgency areas. Its presence will uplift the local economy and help in employment generation. The 900 sq kms is earmarked for firing ranges and training areas. The area inhabited by the Army will be a small portion of this.Violence levels in J&K have drastically reduced and the state is more peaceful than it has ever been in two decades. How did this happen and how much credit would you give to the army in achieving this ?We have strived hard to bring the situation in J&K to what they are at present and it is now time for the political and development processes to follow and build on it. It is important to understand that this is temporary stability in J&K. The next two summers are crucial in maintaining it because the terror infrastructure both within and across the state is intact.The Army’s Northern Command has been raising concern at about the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan’s Northern Areas close to the Siachen Glacier. What implications does this have for our security and on Siachen?There are about 4000 Chinese construction workers along with some troops of the PLA in Pakistan’s Northern Area. Some Pakistani soldiers are also guarding these camps, where the workers are engaged in building roads, hydroelectric project and tunneling work. Our concern is over the type of cooperation that is taking place between them on our northern borders because this has never been there earlier and it opens many other possibilities.This is the year of the Veteran soldier. You cannot be unaware about the widespread dissatisfaction among them. Do they have something to look forward to ?The Army is doing everything to assist the veteran soldiers but we have a problem here. This is because of a difference of perception in the higher echelons of the bureaucracy regarding this. It leads to the recent episode where the DESW in the MOD opposed the broad banding of disability pension. It led to a spectacle of a former Vice Chief of the Army— who lost a leg in hostilities— being pushed from court to court. It is a shameful state of affairs.Are you at peace now? Do you have any ‘to dos’ scribbled somewhere that you would like to attend to, before you hang up your uniform ?I have always been at peace. I have initiated several measures to make our Army a threat based force which should graduate to a capability based force in the years to come. This can be possible if there is continuity and extending this vision by my successors.


Anonymous said...

Now divide army on caste lines, article written in bad taste, how would you explain more than 50years it took to get sikh as army chief, despite so many decorated, deserving dikheya officers ...some names. .
Gen s gurbash, harbaksh, Dhillon, sagat singh, Arora.
Sikhs have given there lives for the country, just read army's 65 wars in account.
So many senior officers got superceeded aftee 84.
Vks has created unnecessary controversy, now media, bloggers like you dividing forces further based on caste, religion.

Anonymous said...

Agree with this look at number of sikhs who have won galantary awards vs non-sikhs, google param vir chakar recepeints, community is only 2% of total population ....

Please please stop communlising , mandalasing army

Anonymous said...

Glad I renounced citizenship of india, lived my entire life outside Punjab, dad was army officer, got used to sikh jokes...still remaind loyal .....despite 84 ,never supported sikh radicals, use to argue against with sikh friends who supported radicals

Now conspiracy theories .....why there is so much of hate from majority community against sikhs.

Anonymous said...

When India was partitioned in 1947, the exodus of Muslim troops resulted in the raising of proportion of Sikhs in the army dramatically - to 30 percent. This predominance irked those in the ruling party who inherited the mantle of the Raj. The home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel vowed to cut down the Sikhs' strength in the army in line with their population. Patel is also believed to have decreed that no Sikh shall be appointed chief of the army staff. There is no denying the fact that, despite five decades of republican democracy, India has had several outstanding Sikh generals but never a be-turbaned sikh COAS

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that Rajputs are denied in the Army. While Generals who are involved in scams are happily made Chiefs and a chief who tried to get his date of birth connected is sent away. If the Congress government had no role and no bias in making Bikram Singh the new Chief, then why did it continually fight to disallow the continuance of General V K Singh? V K Singh wrote in his memoirs that his date of birth was 1951.

General Bikram Singh's promotion is a case of nepotism and he knows it.

Anonymous said...

However, a series of documents accessed by DNA reveal a disturbing picture about the government’s claims. While the UPA’s leadership wants people to believe that Gen Singh sought a “change” in his birth year, the fact is till 2006 he knew he was born in 1951 - a fact accepted by the army headquarters in 1966 when the discrepancy was first brought up by the Union Service Public Commission. In short, Gen Singh never sought a “change”. He was just resisting an effort by vested interests to “change” his birth year from 1951 to 1950.

As reported in DNA on Sunday, Gen Singh’s then English teacher BS Bhatnagar pointed out how he filled in the army chief’s application and the date was erroneously recorded as 1950.

But within months, several documents arrived that corrected the error. A letter from the 14th battalion of the Rajput Regiment’s commanding officer arrived on August 3, 1965, stating that Gen Singh’s date of birth, “maintained in (his) office is 10 May, 1951.”

The battalion knew Gen Singh’s date of birth because the practice in the Indian Army is to record personal and professional details of all officers in a list known as “casualties list”. The list becomes part of the officer’s service record, published as the “Part-Two orders” and is the most authentic record of all personal and professional details.

Gen Singh’s father Major Jagat Singh’s record of service recorded the birth of his son in Military hospital, Pune, on May 10, 1951.

The UPA government is a store of evil that must be destroyed.

Anonymous said...

The problem with these Khalistani Sikhs who have posted comments above is that they never follow the tenets of Guru Nanak but are Sikhs only in name. It was the Khalistan movement that was built to partition India. It is a well-known fact that Sikhs follow caste-based marriages even though they claim that with the advent of Sikhism such things were abolished. The biggest hypocrites are Sikhs. The Brahmins may have divided the society, but the Sikhs are the greatest liars and cheats because they claim their religion unites society when in fact it does nothing of the sort. The Sikhs still claim they are better than others when in fact they do the same things that others do. And at the end of it they want a medal for joining Guru Nanak. God only knows how many opportunists joined Sikhism for the sake of money and adventure. What was supposed to be a religion now became a route to political power. People who said they were all equal now got Sikh Kings. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? It is all possible when no one who claims to be more honest than everybody else does not believe an iota of the impression of honesty he wishes others to believe about him. Don't believe the Sikh lies. These people are arrogant and cruel.