Monday, April 23, 2012

Supreme Court dismisses petition against Lt Gen Bikram Singh's appointment as next Army Chief

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking to quash the appointment of Lieutenant General Bikram Singh as the next Army Chief. 

Lt General Singh is the Eastern Army Commander and is set to replace General VK Singh as chief at the end of May. 

The top court, while turning down the petition, said that it saw "no reason for intervention". The petitioners had argued that Lt General Singh's appointment was "manipulated" and that such manipulation began in 2005, with other contenders being overlooked. The plea said that the row over the age of the current Army Chief General VK Singh was part of an effort to ensure that his tenure ended and Lt General Singh, who is the senior-most Army commander and so next in line, could take over.    
The plea also mentioned Lt General Singh's alleged role in a 2001 fake encounter case pending in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and of a tenure in Congo when, as the head of an Indian peacekeeping force, Lt General Singh came under criticism for failing to curb indiscipline and alleged corruption in the force. 

The Supreme Court had, earlier in the day, asked to see the file on the appointment of Lt General Singh as the next Army Chief. The Centre has submitted the file in court today. 
While asking the Centre to present Lt General Singh's file, the court had also sought to know whether the appointment committee had considered the allegations against him while deciding to appoint him as the next Army Chief.

The Centre had strongly rebutted all charges in court and said the petition against Lt General Singh is malicious and has communal overtones in suggesting that the appointment has been manipulated to get a Sikh officer as Army chief. The Centre said the appointment is transparent. 
The PIL has been filed by a group of retired officers and bureaucrats headed by Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, who retired as the Navy Chief.

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