New Delhi: General V K Singh's's battle over his age intensified on Sunday with the Army headquarters insisting that the date of birth mentioned in his matric certificate cannot be ignored while the Defence Ministry has rejected his contention.

The Army Chief has two sets of date of birth in records. The Military Secretary (MS) branch shows it to be May 10, 1950 whereas the Adjutant General's (AG) branch shows it to be May 10, 1951. The chief's matriculation certificate also shows it to be May 10, 1951.

The Ministry has declared as "null and void and non est" and "unauthorised and illegal" the change in the date of birth to May 10, 1951 in Gen Singh's service records made by the AG branch in February this year.

In its first public response on the issue, Army's Additional Director General (Public Information) said that "the value of a matriculation certificate can't be wished away".

He said the Defence Ministry has arrived at its decision on the issue on basis of what it was told by the MS Branch which has no jurisdiction on such issues.

"The custodian of records, at the Army Headquarters, is the AG's branch and the MS Branch has no jurisdictional authority on the issue as per regulations for the Army and the charter given to each branch," he said.

The ADG (PI) said the "confusion" on the date of birth issue "has occurred because the AG's branch has not been consulted." The Army official said the enquiry (on the date of birth of Gen Singh in 2008), which was asked for by the Defence Ministry, "was never conducted at that time by Army HQs, as it would have punctured the claims of the then Military Secretary."

"This confusion was further compounded because the MS Branch didn't correct its records from those maintained by the Adjutant General, despite the AG's Branch writing to the MS, in earlier years," the official said.

Asserting that "acceptance and admission" must be supported by valid documents without which they have no value, the ADG (PI) said the "value of a matriculation certificate can't be wished away."

Gen Singh had petitioned the Defence Ministry to change his date of birth to May 10, 1951, which will give him an extra ten months in service.

The Defence Ministry after taking opinion of the Attorney General and the Law Ministry and considering records made available to it earlier by the Army, rejected his plea on July 21.

The Ministry contened that Gen Singh had given a written acceptance on Jaunary 30, 2008 that he will maintain date of birth as May 10, 1950.

"The officer had further accepted this in writing unconditionally vide his letter dated January 31, 2008," the Ministry said.

The AG's branch has now sought clarification from the Defence Ministry on the legal justification of its order and has not yet changed Gen Singh's date of birth in its records.

The Army Chief has also filed a Statutory Complaint to Defence Minister A K Antony against the Ministry decision to reject his contention.