WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO(s). 26 OF 2012
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO(s). 26 OF 2012
VIJAY KUMAR SINGH Petitioner(s)
UNION OF INDIA Respondent(s)
O R D E R
1. Interlocutory Application for impleadment is rejected.
2. General Vijay Kumar Singh, Chief of the Army – the petitioner - has approached this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India challenging order dated December 30, 2011, Office Memorandum dated July 21, 2011 and order dated July 22, 2011. By these orders/office memorandum, the petitioner's date of birth in the service record has been recognised as May 10, 1950. The petitioner maintains that his date of birth is, in fact, May 10, 1951 and must be treated as such for all purposes in the service record.
3. A caveat has been filed on behalf of the respondent- Union of India. The matter initially came up before us on February 3, 2012. In the course of hearing on that date, certain issues cropped up particularly in relation to the decision making process leading to the order dated December 30, 2011. At the request of the learned Attorney General, the matter was adjourned for today.
4. As soon as the hearing commenced today, Mr. Goolam E. Vahanvati, learned Attorney General, handed over to us a short affidavit of K.L. Nandwani, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Defence, on behalf of the respondent. The affidavit is taken on record. It is stated in the affidavit that the order dated December 30, 2011 may be treated as confined to the order holding that statutory complaint filed by the petitioner was not maintainable. The second part of the order dated December 30, 2011 which deals with the merits on the diverse contentions raised in the complaint has been sought to be withdrawn.
5. We grant permission to the respondent to withdraw the order dated December 30, 2011 to the extent noted above. In view thereof, the petitioner's grievance with regard to the part of the order dated December 30, 2011 which deals with the merits of the controversy does not survive.
6. The principal controversy, accordingly, now remains to the challenge to the Office Memorandum dated July 21, 2011 and the order dated July 22, 2011. By the Office Memorandum dated July 21, 2011, the respondent has annulled the order issued by the ADGMP dated February 25, 2011 and has reiterated that the petitioner's official date of birth will continue to be maintained as May 10, 1950.
7. By order dated July 22, 2011 that followed Office Memorandum dated July 21, 2011, while maintaining that the petitioner's date of birth in the service record continues to be maintained as May 10, 1950, it has been held that there is no reason for it to consider effecting any change in the date of birth of the petitioner as recorded.
8. We have heard Mr. U.U. Lalit, learned senior counsel for the petitioner, and Mr. Goolam E. Vahanvati, learned Attorney General, and Mr. Rohinton F. Nariman, learned Solicitor General, for the respondent-Union of India, at quite some length.
9. In the course of hearing, Mr. Goolam E. Vahanvati, learned Attorney General, stated that the respondent-Union of India had not questioned the integrity or bonafide of the petitioner. He also stated that the contest by the respondent-Union of India to the Writ Petition was on a matter of principle and it did not reflect any lack of faith or confidence in the petitioner's ability to lead the Army.
10. As a matter of fact, the question before us in the Writ Petition is not about the determination of actual date of birth of the petitioner, but it concerns the recognition of a particular date of birth of the petitioner by the respondent in the official service record.
11. In view of the statement made by Mr. Goolam E. Vahanvati, learned Attorney General, and the limited controversy in the Writ Petition as indicated above, learned senior counsel for the petitioner does not wish to press the matter further and he seeks withdrawal of the Writ Petition.
12. Writ Petition is disposed of as withdrawn.
NEW DELHI; .......................J.
FEBRUARY 10, 2012. (H.L. GOKHALE)