New Delhi: Amid different views expressed by the Law Ministry and the Attorney General on the issue of Army chief General VK Singh’s age, the Defence Ministry adopted a defensive stance and reserved its order.

Defence Minister AK Antony without exaggerating the issue said, “Whenever the government takes a view, it would be announced.”

While interacting with the media after addressing the Unified Commander's Conference here Antony said, “I am in favour of the public debate on this issue and after considering all the aspects, the decision would be taken.”

Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, whose view was sought by Army earlier this month, has opined in favour of maintaining May 10, 1950 as General V K Singh's date of birth. In a letter to the ministry, Vahanvati has specified that the change of birth date may affect the succession process in the Army.

Earlier on the basis of matriculation certificate, the Law ministry has considered 1951 as the birth year of Singh and on this basis his retirement was fixed for June 2012. In addition to this, the appointment of the next Army Chief would also depend on the Singh’s age. In the application form of the UPSC examination, Singh’s birth date is mentioned as May 10, 1950.

It is noteworthy that, the Army has been maintaining two different date of births in its records for General Singh. The Adjutant General's (AG) branch, the official record keeper for purposes of salary and pension, has May 10, 1951 as the official date of birth while the Military Secretary's branch, in charge of promotions and postings, has recorded it as May 10, 1950.

If the birth year of Singh is considered to be 1950 then head of Eastern Army Command Lt General Vikram Singh would become the next Army Chief and if the birth year is considered to be 1951 then Northern Army Commander Lt General K T Parnaik would succeed Singh.

(JPN/ Bureau)