IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (C) NO._______ OF 2012
(UNDER ARTICLE 32 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA)
IN THE MATTER OF:
1. Admiral (Retd.) Laxminarayan
S/o. Late C K Laxminarayan
R/o 103,Ceebros Bayview,
4th Seaward Raod,
Chennai – 600041
3. Maj. Gen. A.K. Verma
R/o 1322,Arun Vihar
4. N. Gopalaswami
Flat No. 5,Leo Madhuram,
CHENNAI – 600017
5. Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Onkar Singh Lohchab
S/o Shri C.R,Lohachab
R/o G-159,Palam Vihar,
6. Lt. Gen. P.C. Katoch (Retd.)
DLF Phase 4,
7. Sam Rajappa
S/o Late Shri M.B. Samuel
R/o 23,Coconut Groove
Chennai – 600042
Union of India
Through its Ministry of Defence
New Delhi-110011 Respondent
WRIT PETITION UNDER ARTICLE 32 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA,IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST,BY RETIRED SERVICE OFFICERS,CIVIL SERVANTS,AND CONCERNED CITIZENS; SEEKING TO QUASH THE RECOMMENDATION MADE BY THE APPOINTMENT COMMITTEE CONSTITUTED UNDER THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA (ALLOCATION OF BUSINESS) RULES,1961,RECOMMENDING SINCE THE SAME IS VIOLATIVE OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS GUARANTEED UNDER ARTICLE 14,15 & 16 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA,1950.
The Honble Chief Justice of India
and his Companion Justices of the
Supreme Court of India
The Humble petition of the Petitioner above named:
MOST RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH
1. The Present Writ Petition Under Article 32 of the Constitution of India,in the Public Interest,by retired Service Officers,Civil Servants,and Concerned Citizens; is being filed under the prevailing extraordinary circumstances is seeking quashing of the Recommendation made by the Appointment Committee constituted under the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules,1961,for the Appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as next Chief of Army Staff. This has been done primarily to protect the Institutional integrity of the Indian Armed Forces which has today become an unfortunate victim of blatant manipulation by people in power without any care or concern to the irreparable severe damage to the important and highly regarded institution which has always been known for its discipline. These vested interests have taken it upon themselves to impose so called Line of Succession in the Indian Army regardless of what the established Law of the Land lays down.
1A. The Petitioner No. 1,Admiral (Retd.) Laxminarayan Ramdas,Commissioned in the Indian Navy on September 1,1953,served as Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian navy taking from November 30,1990 to 23,September,1993. He has been awarded during his tenure in Indian Navy,Vir Chakra,Param Vishisht Seva Medal,Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal. Post retirement,he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Awards for peace in 2004 for his efforts in trying to demilitarise and denuclearize South Asia.
He is trained as a communication specialist in the Royal Naval Staff College in the United Kingdom,he then went on to establish and head the Naval Academy in Kochi,Kerala. One of his major accomplishments is the reconnaissance and interdiction of enemy vessels and bombing of East Pakistan during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war.
During 1971 Operations while in command of INS Beas Admiral Ramdas took part in the most effective Naval Blockade of East Pakistan which frustrated the Pakistans attempt to evacuate 91,000 of their troops who eventually surrendered to the Indian Forces,and captured a large number of ships carrying contraband to that country,bombarded Cox Bazar and took part in the landing and other operations in an area infested with enemy mines and under-water threats. For his resolute,bold,gallant and imaginative action in the face of great danger Admiral Ramdas was decorated with the Vir Chakra,he latter commanded one of the most modern Patrol Vessel Squadron of the Indian Navy.
He served as Naval Attache in Germany for 3 years. He held the appointments of Director of Personnel,Director of Naval Signals and Director of Naval Operations at the Naval Headquarters. Other notable appointments he held were Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Operations),Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet,Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition,Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Naval Command.
Prior to his Taking over as Chief of the Naval Staff in November 1990,he was the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief,Eastern Naval Command which appointment he held since Feb 1989. A distinguished sportsman,an enthusiast of sailing and adventure activities,he promoted sports and adventure activities in the Navy to a great extent.
Petitioner No. 2,M.G. Devasahayam,is a soldier cum administrator with a long career spanning over 45 years,with experience in the working and ethos of Indian Army,Indian Administrative Service,Government and Non-Government Organisations. He entered Indian Army as a Commissioned Officer (Infantry,The Madras Regiment) in 1964. During Army service he participated in the Indo-Pak War (1965) and counter-insurgency operations in Nagaland (1967-68). He is the recipient of Samar Seva Star and General Service (Nagaland) medals.
Moving to Government service (IAS-Haryana Cadre) in 1968,he has been the head of two important Districts (Bhiwani and Chandigarh) and distinguished himself in the areas of Social Welfare,Urban Development and Public Utilities-Electricity and Transportation-Management. While at Chandigarh he worked closely with Mother Teresa and was instrumental in the setting up of the Home for orphans,abandoned infants,dying destitutes and mentally retarded [Shanti-Dan at the heart of Chandigarh and a sancturary for lepers at the Citys outskirts. He was also closely associated with Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan.
Mr. Devasahayam is a prolific writer with published articles in many Newspapers,magazines and journals and has authored three Books – Indias Second Freedom-An Untold Saga; JP in Jail-an uncensored account and ‘JP Movement,Emergency and India’s Second Freedom’
Presently he is Member of National Working Committee of Gandhian Seva & Satyagraha Brigade,New Delhi devoted to the cause of combating corruption. He is convener of the Chennai based Forum for Electoral Integrity and Forum for Integrity in Governance. He firmly believes that Institutional Integrity is at the core of honest governance,vibrant democracy and national security.
Petitioner No. 3,Major General (Retd) Ashok Kalyan Verma,AVSM,was commissioned into the RAJPUT Regiment in June 1956. He commanded the 18th Battalion during the 1971 War and was Mentioned-in-Despatches for his role in the Battle of Akhaura. Subsequently,he commanded a Brigade in Ladakh and the prestigious 26 Infantry Division in Jammu & Kashmir. Among his various appointments he was staff officer in the Military Wing of the Cabinet Secretariat and Brigadier-in-charge Administration in Jalandhar during 1984-5. He was later DGOL in AHQ,Delhi and was an integral part of the Experts Committee that was constituted for the reorganization of the Indian Army.
Besides having been on the teaching faculty of the Defence Services Staff College,he has also been the commander of the Higher Command Course at the College of Combat,Mhow and also Senior Directing Staff at the National Defence College,New Delhi. He was the Colonel of the Rajput Regiment from 1986 until his retirement in 1991.
He is the author of three books – Rivers of Silence (Lancer 1998),Kargil: Blood on the Snow (Manohar 2002) and The Bridge on the River Mehgna (Knowledge World/Centre for Land Warfare Studies 2009).
Petitioner No. 4,N.Gopalaswami,is a former IAS Officer and Chief Election Commissioner of India (CEC). He has administrative experience in a career spanning 43 years both in the State and in the Central Government.
He joined Service in 1966 after a brilliant academic career culminating in his securing a Gold medal in Chemistry in the Post Graduate course at the Delhi University in 1965. He served in the State of Gujarat for 25 years from 1967 to 1992 distinguishing himself in the area of Urban Development and Planning,Land Tenures and Land Administration,Education,Police Administration and Management of Electronic Industry. He moved to the Central Government in 1992 and was involved closely in Electronic and Software Industries’ Promotion, and in the field of Education & Culture. He served as Secretary General in the National Human Rights Commission under 2 eminent former Chief Justices of India,Justice M.N.Venkatachaliah and Justice J.S.Verma,implementing the policies of the NHRC in regard to Right to Life,Right to Health etc. He also served as Union Home Secretary before moving to the Election Commission. He was an Election Commissioner for 2 years and Chief Election Commissioner for 3 years during which time he executed many new innovations including the Photo Electoral Rolls to curb bogus voting and impersonation in the elections.
Post retirement,he is associated with the Consumer Association of India and the Concert Trust both sister organisations based in Chennai,working in the area of consumer grievances,awareness and related issues. He is also Trustee in Catalyst Trust,involved in spreading awareness of Citizen’s rights and duties especially in the area of Elections and Local Self-Governance. He is a member of a Chennai based Forum for Electoral Integrity and Forum for Integrity in Governance . He also contributes to propagation of Samskrit as a Vice President of The Samskrit Promotion Board headquartered at Delhi,with Justice R.C.Lahoti as its President. He firmly believes in the rule of law and that only integrity and transparency in Governance based on respect for Human Rights will secure a robust democracy for all.
Petitioner No. 5,Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Omkar Singh Lohchab,was Commissioned into the Indian Army in 1963. He did his Staff College Course in Australia in 1977. He went on to Command 2 Bihar and also held instructional appointments at the Army College of Land Warfare in Mhow and the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington. He commanded 330 Infantry Brigade in the Desert and was the General Officer Commanding both 14 and 4 Divisions.
Among his other Appointments,he was GOC Bengal Area,Additional Director General Adm & Coord,AHQ Delhi and MGGS Eastern Command. He retired in 2003 after serving as the Director General Military Intelligence for three years. The General is an MsC in Defence studies. Post-retirement,he lives in Palam Vihar in Gurgaon.
Petitioner No. 6,Lt. Gen. P.C. Katoch (Retd.),PVSM,UYSM,AVSM,SC,Superannuated as Director General Information Systems of Indian Army in 2009. He has participated in the 1971 India-Pakistan War,commanded an independent para-commando company in Nagaland-Manipur,a Special Forces Battalion in Sri Lanka,a Brigade on Siachen Glacier,a Division in Ladakh and a Strike Corpus in South Western Theatre. He was part of the Indian Contingent participating in an international Sky Diving Competition in USSR in 1976. He has served as Defence Attache in Japan and Republic of Korea and has held numerous operational staff appointments. An MSc in Defence Studies,he is Alumni of the National Defence College. Post retirement,he has authored over 120 articles on military,security,topical and technical issues and is also online Senior Consulting Editor for SP Guide Publications. He is member of the USI of India Council and active Publications. He is member of the USI of India Council and active participant in seminars at national and international levels. He chaired an International Leadership Seminar at Maldvies (2009),participated in the fourth round of Afghanistan India-Pakistan Trialogue at Kabul (2010) and has presented papers on Counter Terrorism at US Pacific Command,Hawaii (2011),on Maritime Security challenges at China International Institute of Strategic Studies,Beijing (2011),on Political & Economic Frameworks in Asia Pacific during USI National Security Seminar (2011) and on regional Security Post Withdrawal of US & NATO Troops from Afghanistan during the Japan-US-India Trialogue (2011).
Petitioner No. 7,Sam Rajappa is a senior journalist with over five decades experience in the media. Sam started his career in journalism in 1960 as a sub-editor with the Free Press Journal in Bombay. In 1962 he joined The Statesman in New Delhi and later moved to Chennai. He was associated with the paper till 2008. In 1980,he took a years sabbatical from The Statesman to set up the South Indian network of India Today,and worked as their South India bureau chief based in Bangalore. Again,he took a short break from the paper in 1996 to launch The Andhra Pradesh Times,an English daily published from Hyderabad,as its founder-editor. For about fifteen years,since1980,Sam was also the BBCs South India correspondent. He was an adjunct faculty member of the Chennai-based Asian College of Journalism from 2001 to 2007. Till recently he was Director of The Statesman Print Journalism School,Kolkata.
He is a prolific writer and has written editorials and articles on various subjects including politics,foreign policy,governance,armed forces and national security. He continues to contribute editorial columns to online media and The Statesman.
The Petitioners,some of whom,themselves have given their life to the Armed Forces and Civil Services and have served it to the best of their capability and integrity to uphold the dignity of institution,are deeply pained to see the manner the things are unfolding,which has also led many in the armed forces to believe that since Independence,their status has been systematically downgraded. While no one questions the supremacy of the elected political leadership,there is acute resentment about the civilian bureaucracy,therefore to protect the dignity and independence of the institution the Petitioners with full sense of responsibility and with seeing no other avenue with great hopes are approaching this Honble Court.
2. BRIEF FACTS:
The Brief facts leading to the filing of the present Writ Petition is as follows:
2.1. India is a Sovereign Democratic Republic as set out in Preamble to the Constitution of India,it further assures dignity to every individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation. The Constitution of India was adopted,with the intention of having India as a Sovereign Country,which would ensure all the Citizens their individual dignity and the unity and Integrity of the Nation in which they live.
2.2. The Indian Army is the land component of the Indian Armed Forces which works to uphold the said ideals of the Constitution of India. The Army Doctrine 2004 clearly lays down its roles- Primary: Preserve national interests and safeguard sovereignty,territorial integrity and unity of India against any external threat by deterrence or by waging war; Secondary: Assist government agencies in coping with Proxy war and other internal threats and provide aid to the Civil Authority when requisitioned for the purpose.
2.3. Indian Army has a duty to protect the Country from any external aggression and internal turmoil which goes beyond the control of the law & order machinery. It is the most important rather paramount task to preserve the sovereignty,integrity,unity and security of the Nation.
2.4. The Preamble has been held to be the Part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution of India,and thus the Sovereignty,unity and Integrity of the Nation forms the part of basic structure of the Constitution.
2.5. The COAS has the responsibility and duty to command and control the Army in a manner so as to preserve the sovereignty,integrity,unity and security of the Nation in the pursuance of the object as enunciated in the Preamble of the Constitution of India and thus to uphold the dignity and honour of the Services.
2.6. Critical roles have been played by the Indian Army in protecting and defending Indias democracy during the dark days of Emergency (26th June,1975 21st March,1977),which makes it clear that Army is not merely an Integrity Institution,but also the sentinel of the countrys freedom and democracy and the personal integrity of the Person to be appointed as the COAS is of utmost importance to uphold the Basic Structure of the Constitution.
2.7. In the prickly backdrop of political paranoia over the role of the Army in the subcontinent,civil-military relations in India have evolved in their own unique way. Since Independence the Indian Armed forces have unfortunately watched their status whittle away as the bureaucratic establishment slowly but surely took control,abrogating to themselves more and more power. While there had been a few exceptions,most Service Chiefs have failed to stand up to the deep-rooted nexus of political and bureaucratic authority. Once the Ministry has spoken,it has been usually accepted as the last word.
2.8. The fact that the Politician,Bureaucrat and the former COAS,who have the duty to uphold the dignity and honour of the nation,have been able to mould and manipulate the system to the disadvantage of competent,strong,capable and eligible officers to pick and choose and ensure the appointment of a particular person of their choice,shows the malafide and arbitrariness in the decision making process,resulting in the violation of Fundamental Rights as Guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
2.9. The Constitution Bench of this Honble Court in Kochunni Vs. State of Madras AIR 1959 SC page 725 has categorically held that an application under Article 32 cannot be refused merely on the ground that such an application has been made to the Supreme Court in the first instant,without resort to a High Court under Article 226 or there is some adequate alternative remedy available to the petitioner. It has further been held in the said judgment that the right to move the Supreme Court for the purpose for enforcing the fundamental rights it itself a fundamental right and thus the Petitioners are approaching this Honble Court under Article 32.
2.10. The present saga has its origin when General Joginder Jaswant Singh (Hereinafter Gen. J J Singh) assumed command of the Indian Army as COAS on 01.02.2005.
A Maratha Light Infantry officer,General JJ Singh was the first ever Sikh to rise to the top spot in the Army.
2.11. The background in which this needs to be appreciated is,in the preceding months,as General NC Vijs tenure at the helm was coming to an end,there had been a fair amount of langar talk in the Army that General JJ Singh would be superseded by General Shamsher Mehta,an Armoured Corps officer. Though the Government of India by and large always followed the seniority principle in selecting service chiefs (the only exception being General AS Vaidya who had been elevated over Lt General SK Sinha in 1983) there had been enough uncertainty resulting in the Shri Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (hereinafter the SGPC) issuing a strongly worded statement which was published in a few newspapers in favour of General JJ Singh taking over as the first ever Sikh chief. Said statement came in for heavy criticism and nothing more was heard of it again,but by General JJ Singhs own admission,that there would have been a blood bath on the streets if he had been superseded.
The Petitioners assume that the SGPCs statement probably had little or no bearing on the Appointment Committee which at that time was headed by the Present Honble Prime Minister,Dr Man Mohan Singh. Yet the fact remains that for the first time in Independent India,the communal cards were played at the highest level in the Army.
General JJ Singh within few months of taking charge initiated some thing called look down policy which was intended to give a clear idea to the officer above the rank of Brigadier who was still climbing the command pyramid to as to what the line of succession would or could be and to work out his own list,where based on various permutations and combinations,the next three/four chiefs could be predicted.
The only list that mattered was General JJ Singhs own prepared list,for as the Chief of the Indian army.
2.12. It was well known that Gen. J J Singh was to be succeeded by General Gen. Deepak Kapoor,but his successor was to depend on the Promotion Boards which were to be held in future and especially towards the end of 2005 to decide as to which officers were to be cleared for the Lieutenant General Rank.
For the Line of Succession to succeed,General JJ Singh tweaked the events to clear the way for his immediate choice after General VK Singh.
At that point of time,Lt. General Bikram Singh was no where in the list of contenders,and there were other officers ahead of him,but were required to be eliminated by General JJ Singh himself itself with a bit of deft maneuvering.
A list was prepared,nick-named Op MOSES which implied that the Chief would pave the path for Lt. General Bikram Singh,for him to become the COAS in 2012. Like a family tree in reverse,Op MOSES listed potential threats that needed to be neutralized.
At this stage it would be pertinent to bring it to the notice that,for anyone to be in the line of becoming the COAS,the three Promotion Boards,pertaining to the Promotion of an officer as Brigadier,Major General and Lt. General is important,as the Person who would have maximum period of Residuary Services left would become the contender for the Post of COAS,and the Senior One amongst them at the time of retiring COAS,would if the Seniority Principle is adhered to would become the COAS. The functioning,appointment,duties and promotions are regulated by the Defence Services Regulations,1986.
2.13. There might have been many other who would have been sacrificed in the unethical and immoral game plan laid down by Gen. J J Singh,but some of them heading the list of contenders were Brigadier Padam Budhwar and MM Chaudhary,followed by Major Generals Shujan Chatterjee,AK Singh,Ravi Arora and VK Singh.
2.14. While all the others had to be fixed by manipulating their Brigadier to Major General Boards or by other delaying tactics that allowed Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh to overtake them,in the over all scheme of things it was also imperative that Gen. VK Singh becomes the Chief,but only till 2012,so that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh,succeeds him.
2.15. The Result for the Promotion Board held in October,2004 for the Promotion of Officer from Brigadier to Major General was declassified on 21.02.2005. Apart from other Officers the name of Brig. Ravi Arora and Brig. Bikram Singh,were considered.
2.16. But,to ensure that the Line of Succession works out well at the end,Brig. Ravi Arora despite being a Gold Medallist on commissioning and the senior-most in the batch was not empanelled but the Brig. Bikram Singh was. Aggrieved with the aforesaid empanelment Brig. Ravi Arora filed a Non- Statutory Complaint on 05.03.2005.
There were other non-statutory and statutory complaints filed.
The intention was to delay his promotion as much that,by the time he is empanelled to be the Lt. Gen,he should not be left with Sufficient Residuary Services to be considered for the Post of COAS.
While the other complaints were disposed of within 17 days,Brig. Ravi Aroras complaint was deliberately not.
Unless the things are looked backward in the time,keeping in view the Line of Succession Gen J.J. Singh had made,his move could not be questioned,the same being apparently a malafide and arbitrary.
2.17. While Brig. Ravi Aroras Complaint was still pending,within 38 days of declassification of the Previous Promotion Board,Gen. JJ Singh held a fast track promotion board on 01.04.2005,in which amongst others,one of his own staff Brig. Chetinder Singh,whose complaint was disposed of for the purpose,was considered and cleared for promotion,whereas Brig. Ravi Aroras was not even considered.
The said board was irregular,unusual and discriminatory to others,since 60 days are provided to represent against the results and as per MOD Policy,the non-statutory complaints should be decided in three months,and thus previous list could not be said to be final till the time all the complaint made against the same is disposed off after due consideration.
2.18. That the Promotions from Brigadier to Major General Rank is vacancy based,so not disposing off all the Complaints filed simultaneously,and granting promotion to some even before the expiry of the period for representation and disposal as per policy is apparently malafide and arbitrary exercise of authority,to favour few.
Soon after the aforesaid Promotion Board,Brig. Ravi Aroras non-statutory complaint was rejected.
Against the aforesaid rejection Brig. Ravi Arora filed a Statutory Complaint on 21.05.2005,the said Complaint was vehemently opposed by Gen. J.J. Singh,to ensure that its disposal takes as long as possible,which as per plan took about 12 months against the mandatory six months for disposal.
The reason doing so was to ensure that he should not have the requisite residual service for promotion and appoint as Corps Commander or Army Commander later.
2.19. A Promotion Board for promotion of officers from the rank of Major General to Lieutenant General was held on 30.09.2005. In which Gen. V K Singh was considered.
The results for the aforesaid board held,was declassified on 15.04.2006.
Before all the Promotion Boards held,Gen V K Singhs Date of Birth,as produced by the AG Branch and the MS Branch was 10th May,1951. The same was intentionally not touched.
For Op MOSES to succeed,it was imperative for Gen. V K Singh to be sent into a tail-spin. The timing was critical to have created the age issue before his Lieutenant General Board would have meant that VK Singh would not be the chief,thereby knocking out Bikram Singh which would have been counter productive.
2.20. The moment Gen V K Singh was cleared for promotion as Lieutenant General,at Gen. JJ Singhs behest,the then MS fired off the first missile.
Lt General Richard Khare in a letter dated 03.05.2006,for the first time wrote to the then Lt. General VK Singh,that there is a discrepancy in his DOB in the Army List and the same is to be resolved.
At that time it could hardly have been any thing else but the reflecting of a correction. It was also conveyed to Gen VK Singh that the matter would be resolved after going through the records. However,he was told to reflect his date of birth as 1950 for the vague reason that he cannot change his age from what was reflected in UPSC application form and resultantly shown as such in Army List. The desired letter having been obtained from the unsuspecting Gen VK Singh,Op MOSES was now in full swing.
2.21.It is an admitted fact that although initially the Date of Birth of Gen. V K Singh was inadvertently shown as 1950 in the UPSC form,but the error was then only got corrected,i.e. even before he joined the National Defence Academy in 1966,and thereafter his DOB everywhere had been recorded and reflected as 1951 only. Even at the Indian Military Academy,where he was asked to fill up his form as per the original UPSC form,the correction was noted and the IMA records sent to the Adjudant Generals branch reflected 1951. On commissioning into the Army,his year of birth was listed as 1951. Even in the MS branch since his first commissioning as 2nd Lieutenant till he was promoted as Lieutenant General,his DOB has been 1951. All records in the AGs branch had the D.O.B. as 1951,and other than the Army List (which had failed to reflect the correction from the original UPSC form and was based on data forwarded by the MS branch without the requisite verification or checks) everything else listed his age as 1951. The said Army List considered to be fraught with errors and without any utility,had more or less been discontinued since 1990.
2.22. Gen. JJ Singh was simultaneously working out on his plan to exterminate other from the race,from amongst Lt. Gen. Bikrams contemporaries. MM Chaudhary and Padam Budhwar had already been passed over from the Major General rank after deliberately playing havoc with their promotional boards. The promotion of Brig. Ravi Arora,Gold Medallist,was already delayed to allow the favoured candidate to surge ahead.
2.23. The Review Promotion Board (SB No. 1 Review) was held on 25.07.2006. MS Branch record will show that Gen. Arora has a better chance over others,but in furtherance of other plan,in the said Review Board he was not approved intentionally. If he were,then the chances of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh coming into the so-called succession chain would not have arisen. It is believed that the board was held specifically for the purpose of rejecting Brig. Ravi Aroras Candidature.
The Ministry of Defence had raised objection about holding the board,as the previous Review board was yet to be confirmed by MoD.
Review No 1 SB was illegal as it has long been held that Army HQ cannot hold any selection board for a particular rank unless the previous board for the same rank is finalized. The same was clearly done with the ill motive by then the COAS,with the intention to pave path for Bikram Singh and to exclude Brig. Ravi Arora from the competition.
Moreover,if the Review Promotion Board would have been held after all the complaints received within the stipulated time would have been decided,then it was possible that Brig Chetinder Singh may not have got a vacancy,due to merit and vacancy.
Since Gen. Arora did not represent against Result of the aforesaid illegal Board,thus he was relegated to the next batch.
2.24. Without there being any new material or confidential report coming on record,a Promotional Board was held again on 07.11.2006 (presided by Gen. J J Singh),which approved Brig. Ravi Arora for empanelment as Major General,but by then he was excluded from the succession chain.
2.25. Whether the SGPC was in the loop is open to conjecture,but the seeds were sown for someone else to carry the can forward. Gen. JJ Singh handed over the baton to Gen. Deepak Kapoor and within three months took over as the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh.
2.26. Gen. Deepak Kapoor succeeded Gen. JJ Singh,as COAS on 30.09.2007.
Though the epitaph of General Gen. Deepak Kapoors tenure as the COAS has the words Adarsh and Sukhna engraved on it,the fact of the matter is that the Indian Army was going through one of its lowest ebbs in the eyes of the public.
2.27. Although Gen JJ Singhs look-down policy wanted Gen. VK Singh to be Gen. Deepak Kapoors successor,Gen. Deepak Kapoor on the other hand was desperate to shoot Gen. VK Singh down even before he could be appointed Army Chief,for the two officers were at the opposite end of the spectrum,both professionally and otherwise.
The stick which Gen JJ Singh had planted in the cupboard to truncate Gen. VK Singhs tenure was now taken out by the said Gen. Deepak Kapoor to cut Gen. VK Singh down to size altogether. Accordingly,the MS Branch was now asked to rake up the age issue once again. However,two things came to VK Singhs rescue: a) his excellent professional standing and b) in the overall scheme of things initiated in 2006,it was imperative that he became the Chief so that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh could be appointed COAS in 2012.
This clearly indicated that there was a higher power at work,which outranked the COAS. The Ministry of Defence,fully aware of all the machinations under both Gen. JJ Singh and Gen. Deepak Kapoor,not only did nothing to sort out the mess,but chose to be the mute spectator from the sidelines as the drama unfolded.
2.28. Gen. VK Singh moved to Calcutta in year 2009,where he took over as the Army Commander. Almost immediately,the Sukhna land scam was unearthed and despite stiff opposition from Gen. Deepak Kapoor,Gen. VK Singh decided to order an internal enquiry against the 33 Corps Commander and other senior officers.
At this stage a senior officer in the Gen. Deepak Kapoor hierarchy pointedly advised Gen VK Singh not to rock the boat.
2.29. Gen. V.K. Singh,wrote to the MS,Lt General Avdesh Prakash asking him on what grounds had the MS branch advised Gen. Deepak Kapoor to fix his year of birth at 1950. Lt General Avdesh Prakash,by then realized that despite Gen. Deepak Kapoors efforts to stall the Sukhna enquiry,it was just a matter of time before his name would come up in the deal and that he too would be implicated. Having failed to push Gen. VK Singh into a corner where he could have been court martialled for insubordination,Gen. Deepak Kapoor knew that Gen VK Singh was not going to just lie down and let the matter be. Lt General Naidu had by then retired and was replaced by Lt. General Nobel Thamburaj,so one hurdle had been removed. It was then decided by Gen. Deepak Kapoor and Lt General A Prakash,to make it appear as if Gen VK Singh,is petitioning the MS branch for change of DOB rather than a mere correction to the redundant Army List.
2.30. The MS,Lt General Avdesh Prakash,by then needed little prompting,for his only chance of defence in the Sukhna scam was to try and make it look as if he,an honest and upright officer,had stood in the way of Gen. VK Singhs manipulation to change his DOB. His implication in the Sukhna land scam,he subsequently argued,was because he had thwarted Gen VK Singh who as the Eastern Army commander then vindictively got after him.
2.31. Gen. Deepak Kapoors attempt to use the DOB issue to sack Gen.VK Singh before he moved as the Eastern Army Commander had alarmed Gen. JJ Singh and the powers that be who did not want Gen. Deepak Kapoor to tamper with the line of succession.
Gen. Deepak Kapoor failed to get at Gen. VK Singh at that stage because the Ministry of Defence did not blindly support him.
2.32. The Appointments Committee,chaired by the Prime Minister for the third time (having earlier appointed JJ and Gen. Deepak Kapoor),cleared Gen. VK Singh to be the 24th Chief of the Army Staff.
2.33. Gen. VK Singh on 31.03.2010 succeeded Gen. Deepak Kapoor as the 24th Chief of the Army Staff.
Apart from the various scams associated with Gen. Deepak Kapoors tenure,the Chiefs handling of the Northern Army Commander,Lt General HS Panag who had openly accused Gen. Deepak Kapoor of being corrupt.
2.34. It was in talk sometime in October 2010,that Gen Deepak Kapoor fraudulently acquired a flat in the now infamous Adarsh Housing Society in Colaba,Mumbai,which was built fraudulently on the land under de-facto possession of the Army,for the intended purpose of the welfare of Kargil heroes and their widows. This news brought a lot of adverse publicity to the Indian Army and dented its image. After this news was brought to public,Gen Kapoor claimed that he cancelled his allotment for the flat.
2.35. As the Army Chief,Gen. VK Singh for the first time had the complete facts pertaining to his own case before him and when viewed in totality,various pieces began to fall into place. Despite all the evidence to the contrary,the Ministry of Defence was doggedly sticking to Gen VK Singhs DOB as being 1950 with the intention of forcing the General to retire on 31st May,2012 as against 31st March,2013.
2.36. The Defence Minister,A. K. Antony who had assumed office on 26th October,2006,repeatedly let it be known that though he sympathized with Gen. VK Singh,his hands were tied in the matter and that the pre-determined line of succession had to be maintained at all costs.
The constant reference to orders from above remained a baffling question; Gen. JJ Singh,despite being the chief architect of the line of succession was the Governor of Arunachal with no direct authority over the Defence Minister.
2.37. The orders from above virtually gave the bureaucrats in MOD the license to flex muscle; a series of selected leaks began to paint Gen VK Singh as a conniving officer who was desperate to gain an additional ten months in office,either by hook or by crook.
2.38. An RTI application dated 28.10.2010; filed by one Dr. Kamal Taori in the Ministry of Defence to obtain information regarding Gen. V K Singhs DOB and that of five senior generals of the army is relevant in this context as the whole controversy,which we witnessed recently,was some what unearthed pursuant to the said Application.
2.39. The Legal Adviser (Defence) who is part of the MOD was requested by the AG Branch to provide opinion on the subject of Date of Birth.
2.40. The Legal Adviser,Defence in reply dated 14.02.2011,provided an opinion,approved by the Ministry of Law and Justice,wherein,it was opined that as per the records pertaining to date of birth such as the ID Card issued by the IMA,the class X School certificate of Rajasthan Board,all confidential records and course reports,all medical examination reports and as per documents maintained by MP-5 and record of service sent by IMA,Gen. V K Singhs date of birth is 10th May 1951.
Consequently,the Army HQ vide Letter Dated 23.02.2011,replied to the RTI query,informing that date of birth of Gen. V K Singh as per the records in AG Branch and as per the High School Certificate is 10th May 1951.Additionally,by another letter dated 8th May 2011 issued to the RTI queries,it was also stated that date of birth as recorded in the High School Certificate and in the records of the AG Branch were in consonance.
2.41. The AG Branch issued an order bearing reference no. 12198/RTI/MP-6(a) dated 25.02.2011,to the MS Branch requesting that amendment be made in the records maintained at MS Branch,to reflect Gen. V K Singhs date of birth as 10th May,1951 in conformity with the records maintained by the AG Branch.
2.42.The MS Branch,vide letter dated 16th March,2011 responded to the same stating that as per the policy,change of date of birth in respect of commissioned officers are required to be accepted by the competent authority in the Ministry of Defence and requesting that the acceptance of change in the instant case be obtained and intimated to MS Branch to enable relevant records to be amended.
2.43.The AG Branch,in response dated 21.03.2011,noted that the case did not pertain to request for change of date of birth and requested the MS Branch to initiate necessary action to correct the anomaly of incorrect entry of date of birth in their records.
Based on query by AG Branch,the Controller Defence Accounts (O) (CDA) responded on 30.03.2011,referring to letter bearing reference 12918/ RTI/ MP-6(a) Dated 25.02.2011,that as per the records maintained with the CDA (O),the date of birth of Gen. V K Singh is already shown as 10th May 1951 in consonance with the first form sent after commissioning which had been counter-signed by the then Commanding Officer. The letter of CDA (O) assumes relevance because even as per AO 663/ 73,relied upon by the MS Branch,the entries in the Army List have to be verified by CGDA and the office of CDA (O) is directly subordinate to it.
2.44. A Petition was submitted by General V.K. Singh on 21.04.2011,to the Prime Ministers Office,the same along with all relevant documents was forwarded to the Attorney General for India for his opinion on the DoB issue by the Ministry of Law and Justice. The query framed for the Attorney General was whether a change in DoB was possible keeping in view that many years had passed since commissioning. The Ld. Attorney General opined that amendment of the DoB is not tenable and the issue cannot be reopened at this stage. True Copy of the Note of Mr. Subhash Chandra Jt. Sec. (G & Air) dated 06th May,2011,True Copy of the Letter of Mr. R L Koli (Addl. Sec.) Advising that the issue may be referred to the Ld. Attorney General of India,dated 10.05.2011,True Copy of the Opinion of Ld. Attorney General of India,Mr. G.E. Vahanavati dated 16.05.2011 and True copy of the Letter dated 19th August,2011 address to Shri Ravikesh K. Sinha,are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE P-1 COLLY (Page No. 71 To 122)
2.45. General V.K. Singh,thereafter on 25.05.2011,submitted a petition to the Defence Minister on the issue of DoB. The same was submitted to the Attorney General for re-consideration by the Ministry of Law and Justice. The Attorney General in his second opinion reiterated his position and stated that there was no ground for re-consideration. True Copy of the Note of Mr. Subhash Chandra,Jt. Secy. (G & Air) dated 01.06.2011,True Copy of the Note dated 07.06.2011 of Defence Secy.,Mr. Pradeep Kumar and True Copy of the Final Opinion of the Ld. Attorney General of India dated 21.06.2011 are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE P-2 COLLY (Page No. 123 To 166)
In the meantime several other Jurists and Mr. Gopal Subramanium former Solicitor General of India rendered their considered opinions on the question of DoB and opined that the correct DoB of General VK Singh is 10th May 1951 and the same had been maintained throughout in the records of the AG Branch which is the official record keeper. The opinions of most of these persons were sought by General V.K. Singh,whereas the opinion of one Honble retired CJI was sought by the AG branch.
2.46. Gen. V K Singh,thereafter on 25.05.2011,submitted a petition to the Defence Minister on date of birth issue.
2.47.The MS Branch issued Memorandum No. A/4501/01/Gen/MS(X) dated 01.07.2011 in which stated that a scrutiny of past records pertaining to Selection Board was done and it was observed that the Master Data Sheets (herein after referred to as MDS) drawn up at the time of consideration for promotion to various ranks reflect Gen. V K Singhs Date of Birth to be 10.05.1951.
2.48. The Ministry of Defence issued Memorandum No. 23(10)/2011-D (MS) dated 21.07.2011,stating that the Attorney General,after reviewing all documents,entire correspondence and the relevant rules and case law on the issue,opined that the amendment of the Date of birth is not legally tenable and there was no scope for opening the issue at this stage. It would be pertinent to again reiterate that the issue has never been of change of Date of Birth,but was only regarding the Correction in the Records.
2.49.The Ministry of Defence issued Order No.23 (10)/2011-D (MS) dated 22.07.2011 rejecting Gen. V K Singhs representation dated 25.05.2011.
Aggrieved with the Memorandum Dated 21.07.2011 and the Order Dated 22.07.2011,Gen. V K Singh filed a complaint on 24.08.2011,in terms of the Defence Services Regulations contained in Section 2 of Chapter VIII contained in Part II of Volume I in terms of Section 2.
2.50. Given the sensitivity of civil-military relations in the past,no chief had ever beyond a point rocked the boat. The Statutory Complaint filed by VK Singh shattered that belief. So taken aback was the GOI that the Defence Minister Mr Antony issued a statement in Parliament saying that the Government had fixed 1950 after due process the date would stand.
2.51. The Complaint of Gen. V K Singh was rejected by the Ministry of Defence vide order dated 30.12.2011,stating the same not to be maintainable and also on merits. True Copy of the Order dated 30.12.2011 passed by the Ministry of Defense,rejecting the Statutory Complaint filed by Gen. V K Singh is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE P-3 (Page No. 167 To 186)
2.52. Impugning the above stated order dated 30.12.2011 as well as order dated 21.07.2011,Gen. V K Singh preferred a Writ Petition being Writ Petition (Civil) No. 26 of 2012 before this Honble Court,stating the same to be illegal,arbitrary,Violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India,and also against the provisions of the Army Act,1950,and the Defence Services Regulations as well as the Army Orders.
2.53.The aforesaid Writ Petition was listed before this Honble Court on 03.02.2011,during the course of Argument,the issue as to the decision making process came into question and then on the request of the Ld. Attorney General,the matter was adjourned for 10.02.2012. The issue of Decision making process only justified that the Defence Minister did not apply his mind to the Complaint filed by Gen. V K Singh.
2.54. That this Honble Court vide order dated 10.02.2012,disposed of,the Writ by permitting the Counsel for Gen. V K Singh to withdraw the Writ. True Copy of the Order dated 10.02.2012 passed by this Honble Court in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 26 of 2012 is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE P-4 (Page No. 187 To 190)
The MOD on the said date,submitted an affidavit,before this Honble Court,wherein they sought to withdraw the second part of the Order dated 30.12.2011,which dealt with the merits of the contentions raised by Gen. V K Singh in his Complaint,and the same was allowed by this Honble Court.
In the said Order this Honble Court,has observed that the matter is not about the determination of actual date of birth of Gen. V K Singh,but it concerns the recognition of his date of birth by the Respondent (Union of India) in the official service record.
It is apparent from the reading of the aforesaid Order passed by this Honble Court that as regards the correction Date of Birth in the Record has not yet been decided by the Ministry of Defence,the date of births of Gen. V K Singh still remains 31st May,1951 and therefore he is to retire on 31st March,2013 and not on 31st May,2012 as projected by the Media on misunderstanding of this Honble Court.
2.55. That despite the fact that Gen. V K Singh as per the Date of Birth 31st,May 1951 is to retire on 31st March,2013,and there was no question of anyone else being declared to be the Next COAS,the Ministry of Defence,based on recommendation by the Appointment Committee,on 03.03.2012 has declared the name of Lt. Gen,Bikram Singh as the next COAS.
The said declaration has been made,only a day after the incumbent Army Chief said he is not going to resign early.
The said announcement was made 90 days ahead of the assumed scheduled day of assumption of charge,as against the 60-day norm,which the Government has been following.
There are several other controversies which are pending investigation and enquiry against the said Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh,which raises question,on his capability and integrity for him to take over Command of the Indian Armed.
2.56. The Recommendation and the Approval becomes questionable,in background of the fact that the date of birth issue of Gen. V K Singh has not yet been decided by the Government of India,no orders for his date of retirement has been issued to him and despite that the name of his successor has been declared. Unless Gen. V K Singhs date of retirement on the basis of his date of birth is decided by the Government of India,the question of anyone else taking over the said Position does not arise.
The way the Promotion of the other Army officials,who were more capable and eligible to become the COAS has been manipulated to exclude them from the list of likely COAS to pave the path for Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh,who was nowhere in the said list,by the Ex- COAS,Gen. J. J. Singh in connivance with the Political and Bureaucratic establishments has compelled the Petitioners to approach this Honble Court questioning the Recommendation and Approval of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singhs name as the next COAS.
The statements set out in the preceding paragraphs in some detail shows the complete malafide of the authorities which rot if not nipped in the bud would ruin the entire disciplined institution which has been in the forefront in protecting the Nation.
2.57. The Recommendation and the Approval,requires reconsideration,keeping in view the two of the gravest allegation that are there against proposed COASD 1) about his being involved in the fake encounter of a 70 year old man,and thereafter branding him as a terrorist to achieve personal advantages and 2) of being incapable of having any control over his battalion while posted in Congo in UN Peace Keeping Mission,which has further found support in some of the other incidents,while he was posted as Commander,15 Corps,in Srinagar,when the stone throwing movement occurred,and the same went out of his control,one of the stated reasons for the said incident and consequent loss of life of several innocent citizens was the lack of complete inaction and indecisiveness on his part and also while he was posted as Army Commander,Eastern Command,Kolkata,his reputation of playing it safe,has been reaffirmed,as he had returned all the funds allocated to the Command.
There are several allegation pending investigation and enquiry against the said Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh,which raises serious question,on the propriety,suitability,his competence,capability and integrity in being appointed as the next Chief of Armed Forces of this vast nation.
2.58.Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh,the then as Brigadier was posted as Sector Commander of Sector 1RR,Victor Force at Khanabal,in 2001,has been accused of stage managing a fake encounter on 01.03.2001 at Janglat Mandi,Anantnag,Jammu & Kashmir. In the said incident two Army Officers,Col. J P Janu and Jawan Ganesh Kumar lost their lives and one Lt. B S Bajwa got injured. In the said incident Three Civilians also lost their lives,out of those three Civilians one Ahmad Bhat S/o. Gh. Mohd R/o. S K Colony,Anantnag who was aged about 70 years is alleged to have been shown to be the terrorist from Pakistan named Rabbani@ Abdul Mateen Chacha. The FIR being FIR No. 72 of 2001 Registered in connection with the incident,U/s. 302,307,326 RPC and 7/26 Arms Act,showed Rabbani @ Abdul Mateen Chacha as the Accused. The Chargesheet in the said case was filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate,Anantnag and on committal to the Court of Ld. Sessions Judge,Anantnag,the same was ordered to have abated by the Ld. Sessions Judge.
The said incident has since the very beginning been alleged to be stage managed fake encounter to gain accolades and promotions.
Several Local NGOs raised their concern on the issue and have written to the Her Excellency The President of India,The Honble Prime Minister of India,The Honble Defence Minister of India,The COAS and the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and have sough investigation by the Independent Agency.
With regards to the said incident,the Mother and Sister of Ahmad Bhat S/o. Gh. Mohd R/o. S K Colony,Anantnag,filed a Writ Petition being OWP No. 1312 of 2011,before the Honble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir,at Srinagar,alleging that the said incident was a stage managed fake encounter. The Petitioners in the said case have alleged that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh had stage managed the whole incident and is directly involved in the incident and have sought independent investigation. The Honble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir,at Srinagar,was pleased to issue notices to the Sate Government and the Union of India. The Writ Petition is still pending before the High Court. True Copy of the Writ Petition being OWP No. 1312 of 2011 dated nil filed before the Honble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir,at Srinagar,True Copy of the Order dated 27.04.2001 passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate,Anantnag,True Copy of the Order dated
30.06.2001 passed by the Court of session Judge,Anantnag,True Copy of the Letter dated 13.06.2011,Addressed by Youth Empowerment Services of Kashmir to the DIG(Police),South Kashmir Range,Anantnag, True Copy of the News Paper Cutting The Kashmir Monitor dated 23.06.2011,True Copy of the News Paper Cutting The Kashmir Monitor dated 10.07.2011,True Copy of the News Paper Cutting The Kashmir Monitor dated 10.07.2011,True Copy of the Press Release note dated 21.07.2011,True Copy of the News Paper Cutting The Kashmir Monitor dated 27.07.2011,True Copy of the News Paper Cutting Greater Kashmir dated 10.08.2011,True Copy of the Letter dated 13.08.2011,Addressed by Youth Empowerment Services of Kashmir to Her Excellency,The President of India,True Copy of the Press Release dated 17.08.2011,True Copy of the Press Release dated 03.10.2011,True Copy of the News Paper Cutting Rising Kashmir dated 14.10.2011,True Copy of the Order dated 29.10.2011 passed by the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir at Srinagar in OWP No. 1312 of 2011, True Copy of the Press Release dated 18.11.2011,True Copy of the Press Release dated 26.12.2011,True Copy of the Order dated 27.12.2011 passed by the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir at Srinagar in OWP No. 1312 of 2011 are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE P-5 COLLY (Page No. 191 To 248)
While such a serious Allegation,against Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh,is still under consideration and to affirm the faith of not only the people of J & K but of the whole country,deserves to be properly investigated by the independent agency,the declaration of his name for the top position in the Army,which has the duty to protect the unity and dignity of the nation and act in the interest of people of India,is wholly illegal and untenable being malafide and arbitrary.
2.59. Lt. Gen Bikram Singh has also been accused of his inability to control excesses of his troops. He had headed a group of personnel during their year-long posting on a UN peacekeeping mission in Congo in 2008. During this period he was responsible for the units operational control,including its deployment. Against the existing UN order on the subject to ensure that troops are not deployed in penny packets in small numbers,as a Deputy Force Commander he disobeyed the order and deployed troops far and wide thereby loosing control. This was noticed and indicated by senior UN Commanders. The VCOAS was sent to Congo to address the issue and the redeployment was carried out as per UN directions. The Court Of Inquiry on the involvement Sikh troops in sexual escapades with the local women was suppressed and the matter was laid to rest by the then Maj General Bikram Singh by giving rations,provisions and money to the effected females. This issue was raised by the UN since a lot of illegitimate children with Indian features have been born to local women through illicit relations with Indian peacekeepers under Maj General Bikram Singh. This lapse has brought a bad name to the Indian Army and negated all the good efforts put up by our soldiers in UN Peacekeeping duties. It also raises serious concerns about his capability to command the Indian Army. The Inquiry in the said matter is still going on. A person who is not capable of controlling few of his subordinates would he wholly incompetent of having control over the whole of the Army.
2.60.The fact that the Petitioners are constrained to file the present Writ Petition,itself shows that,there is complete loss of credibility and confidence within the forces on his declaration as next Chief,what would the situation be when he is finally appointed.
The very foundation for whose appointment is based on the fraud played with his fellow service men,which today is known widely amongst the Army Personal,would disable him from getting appropriate support from his fellow service men and the subordinates to live upto the responsibilities reposed on the Army Chief and expected from him.
Keeping in the view of the story as unfolded above,it is imperative that a the very foundation of which is based on fraud and manipulation,to achieve the ill motives of people in power,deserves to be quashed,to ensure that a similar situation does not arise in future.
3.The Present Writ Petition is being filed by the Petitioner,on the following amongst the other grounds:
A.Because while making the recommendations,the service conditions of the candidate being a public servant or civil servant in the past is not the sole criteria. The Committee must also take into consideration the question of institutional competency and integrity. If the selection adversely affects institutional competency,integrity and functioning then it shall be the duty of the Committee not to recommend such a candidate. Thus,the institutional integrity is the primary consideration which the Committee is required to consider while making recommendation. In the present case,the same appears to have been overlooked and thus the recommendation deserves to be quashed.
B.Because the careful reading of this Honble Courts order dated 10.02.2012 passed in Writ Petition (Civil) No.26 of 2012,shows that the date of birth issue of Gen. V K Singh has not yet been resolved and the same,in view of the Affidavit filed by the Ministry of Defense before this Honble Court,still needs to be decided on its own merits,as by the said affidavit the Respondents had sought to withdraw the part of conclusion arrived at by them on the merits of the Complaint filed by Gen. V K Singh. Since the date of birth issue of Gen. V K Singh has not yet been decided by the Government of India,no orders for his date of retirement has been issued to him and despite that announcement of the name of his successor raises question regarding the legality of such declaration.
Assuming that Gen. V K Singh has to retire taking his birth to be 31st May 1950,even then the declaration about Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh,becoming the next COAS is questionable,for the reason that against the accepted practice,where the declaration comes only 60 days prior to likely date of succession,this time the same it has been hastily made 90 days in advance and that too on the very next day that Gen. V K Singh,clarified that,after the long chain of litigation regarding his date of birth he would not resign. The same has raised several issues on its legality and bonafide as to how this could have been done within such a short span of time,when the same has to be considered by the MoD and the Committee. The Recommendation and the Approval comes under serious shadow of doubt that the same was already preplanned or whether it has at all been made after proper application of mind by the Committee to all the relevant documents,facts before deciding that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh not only eligible but also capable of maintaining the integrity of the institution.
C.Because the said recommendation and the approval,is wholly malafide,and not based on the Merits of an individual,but is based on personal,political and bureaucratic interest,to achieve the same,the Promotions of the other Army officials,who were more capable and eligible to become the COAS has been manipulated to exclude them from the list of likely COAS to pave the smooth journey of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh,who was nowhere in the said list and therefore the Recommendation and Approval needs to be examined.
D.Because the COAS has the responsibility and duty to control the Services in the manner so as to preserve the sovereignty,integrity,unity and security of the Nation in the pursuance of the object as enunciated in the Preamble of the Constitution of India and to uphold the dignity and honour of the Services,as it has been interpreted by the Constitution of India. Thus the personal integrity of the Person to be appointed as the COAS is of utmost importance to uphold the basic structure of the Constitution. In view of the investigations into the serious allegation already pending against Lt. Gen Bikram Singh,the recommendation and the approval,appears to have been accorded,without applying mind on all the material facts and evidence to ascertain the eligibility and integrity of the person,who is to hold the command of the Indian Army and thus necessitates Judicial Intervention.
E.Because the foundation for appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh,is full of malafide and arbitrary actions of the former COAS Gen. J J Singh and Other in High Offices,for which,the system and promotion of other competent officers have been moulded and manipulated to the advantage of the favoured person to ensure the one solitary goal of his appointment,the same shows the malafide and the arbitrariness in the decision making process and thus requires to be examined.
F.Because the way the things have been manipulated to ones advantage,the way slowly by these manipulation,the political and Bureaucratic establishments are trying to take over the control of Army,is not stopped at the threshold,the day is not far when the country would lose its very basic identity of being a Sovereign and Democratic Republic. In order to uphold this basic structure of the Constitution of India the Recommendation and Approval is necessary to be quashed.
G.Because the Recommendation and the Approval,is accorded only to grant official sanction to the line of succession,prepared by the then COAS Gen. J J Singh, despite the fact that amongst many other allegations there are two of the gravest allegation 1) the accusation of being involved in the fake encounter death of a 70 year old man in March,2001,and branding him as terrorist to achieve personal advantage is pending in a Writ Petition before the J & K High Court in which Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recently filed counter-affidavit; and 2) miserably low levels of command over his troops while posted in the Congo on a UN Peace Keeping Mission wherein scores of incidents of rape,molestation and siring of illegitimate children took place, which are under enquiry.
In addition,the officers inability to command has further found support in other incidents; the complete inaction and indecisiveness displayed by him while he was the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief,15 Corps,resulted in the stone throwing agitation in Srinagar getting alarmingly out of hand. During his current posting as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief,Eastern Command,the officer has once again gained notoriety for indecisiveness by returning almost all funds at the Commands disposal as unspent money in an effort to play it safe and thus unless these are investigated and found to be false against him,the person cannot be said to be fit to be appointed as the COAS.
H. Because a Writ Petition being OWP No. 1312 of 2011,before the Honble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir,at Srinagar,filed by the Mother and Sister of one Ahmad Bhat S/o. Gh. Mohd R/o. S K Colony,Anantnag,on the allegation that the said incident was a stage managed fake encounter. The Petitioners in the said case have alleged that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh had stage managed the whole incident and is directly involved in the incident and have sought independent investigation. The Honble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir,at Srinagar,was pleased to issue notices to the Sate Government and the Union of India. The Writ Petition is still pending before the High Court. The allegation has also found support from various sections of the People and Civil Societys,with such allegation pending against the person proposed to be the next COAS,would only shake the faith and belief of the People in the democracy,therefore its not only persons eligibility but also the capability that if he would get support from the people and his subordinates to take over the highest post in the Army should have been considered by the Committee and the MOD before recommending and approving his name as Next COAS.
I.Because Lt. Gen Bikram Singh has been accused of his inability of having any control over his soldier,while he was heading a group of personal during their year-long posting on a UN peacekeeping mission to Congo in 2008,in Congo mission. The men subordinate to him,working under his control faced charges of rape and also fraternizing with the local population,all forbidden by Indian military law and the UN code of conduct,which is still under inquiry. An individual who is not capable of controlling few of his subordinates would be totally incapable of having control over whole of the Army and therefore the Recommendation appointing him next Army Chief deserves to be quashed as the same has not considered all the material facts important to ascertain the competency of a person to become the COAS.
J.Because where the very foundation for Lt. Gen. Bikram Singhs,Appointment as COAS,is based on the fraud played with his fellow service men,known and accepted widely amongst the Army Personal,he would be incapable of getting any respect or support from his fellow officers and the subordinates to carry out the responsibilities reposed on the Army Chief and expected from him,and this should be considered as Lt. Gen. Bikram Singhs incapability to hold the command of the Army.
K.Because,if the recommendation and approval of appointing Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh,is based on and influenced with the personal,political and Bureaucratic vested interest,the same affects the independence of working of the Army. It is necessary to insulate the Army from external influences,such protections from external political and bureaucratic controls are necessary in order to enable the Institution to work in a free and fair environment. The Committee was required to take into consideration in the interest of the independence and impartiality of the Institution. The said Committee should have considered the institutional competence and integrity,which should be based on an informed decision keeping in mind the aforesaid vital aspects,and since the recommendation and approval apparently is not based on any of such factors,deserves to be quashed.
4.That the Petitioners have no personal or individual interest in the matter but consider it their moral duty and obligation to put the rotting system back on track. They have not filed any Petition before any High Court or this Honble Court seeking the same or similar relief.
This Honble Court be pleased may be graciously pleased to:
a)Issue appropriate Writ Order or Direction,quashing the Recommendation/Approval made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet,constituted to take decisions under the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules,1961 as being vitiated by malafide and fraud;.
b)Issue appropriate Writ Order or Direction,quashing the Recommendation made by the Minister of Defense for appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as next COAS.
c)Issue any other writ,order or direction in the interest of justice.
(d)Any other order or direction that this Honble Court may deem fit be passed.
Ms. KAMINI JAISWAL
ADVOCATE FOR THE PETITIONER
Mr. Abhimanue Shrestha
Drawn on: 31st March,2012
Filed on: 04th April,2012
IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDITION
WRIT PETITION (C) NO. __________ OF 2012
IN THE MATTER OF:
ADMIRAL (RETD.) LAXMINARAYAN
RAMDAS & ORS. PETITIONERS
UNION OF INDIA RESPONDENT
I,Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Onkar Singh Lohchab S/o Shri C.R,Lohachab aged about 69 years R/o G-159,Palam Vihar,Gurgaon,Haryana,Petitioner No. 5,above named,presently at New Delhi,do hereby solemnly affirm and declare as under:
1. That I am the Petitioner No. 5 in the accompanying Writ Petition,being well conversant with the facts and records of the case I am competent to swear this affidavit.
2. That I have read and understood the contents of the List of Dates and Synopsis (Pages B to AAA),Writ Petition (Pages 1 to 66),(Para 1 -4),Application for Exemption from filing Lengthy List of Dates,Application for Direction and Application for Stay and the contents of the same are true and correct to my knowledge and based on the records of the case.
3. I further state that all the Annexures to this Writ Petition are true copies of their respective originals.
Verified at New Delhi on this 31st day of March 2012,that the contents of paras 1 and 3 of the above affidavit are true to my knowledge as derived from the records of the case. Nothing material has been concealed therein.
IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDITION
WRIT PETITION (C) NO._______ OF 2012
IN THE MATTER OF:
ADMIRAL (RETD.) LAXMINARAYAN
RAMDAS & ORS. PETITIONERS
UNION OF INDIA RESPONDENT
I,Lt. Gen. P.C. Katoch (Retd.) S/o Shri Maj. Gen. J.C. Katoch aged about 62 years R/o 404-B,Hamiltion Court,DLF Phase 4,DLF City,Gurgaon 122009,Haryana,Petitioner No. 6 above named,presently at New Delhi,do hereby solemnly affirm and declare as under:
1. That I am the Petitioner No. 6 in the accompanying Writ Petition,being well conversant with the facts and records of the case I am competent to swear this affidavit.
2. That I have read and understood the contents of the List of Dates and Synopsis (Pages B to AAA),Writ Petition (Pages 1 to 66),(Para 1 – 4),Application for Exemption from filing Lengthy List of Dates,Application for Direction and Application for Stay and the contents of the same are true and correct to my knowledge and based on the records of the case.
3. I further state that all the Annexures to this Writ Petition are true copies of their respective originals.
Verified at New Delhi on this 31st day of March 2012,that the contents of paras 1 and 3 of the above affidavit are true to my knowledge as derived from the records of the case. Nothing material has been concealed therein.