Antony gets a week to eat crow! - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Thursday 2 February 2012

Antony gets a week to eat crow!

Just back from the Supreme Court. In 40 minutes of riveting legal drama in a courtroom packed to the rafters, Mr Justice Lodha and Mr Justice Gokhale demonstrated why India's higher judiciary is such a powerful force in this country.

Unmoved by a forceful performance from the government's legal stars --- Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati and Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman, who argued in tandem --- the Court has given the Defence Ministry a week to let the Supreme Court know whether the MoD would prefer that Mr Antony's decision on General VK Singh's petition be quashed, and the MoD would consider his statutory complaint afresh... or would the MoD prefer that the Court hears the chief's petition under Article 32 of the Constitution.

The Court made it clear that Antony's decision of 30th December 2011, rejecting the Army Chief's statutory complaint, violated the principles of natural justice. Antony's rejection was based on the Attorney General's legal opinion; that same Attorney General had also provided opinion that informed the MoD's earlier rejection (on July 2011) of the chief's request for his date of birth to be recognised as 1951, not 1950. The court's legal question was: How could the Attorney General provide the legal backstop for Antony's 30th December decision, when it was the same Attorney General's legal opinion that was being questioning in Gen Singh's statutory complaint? There was a clear conflict of interest here, observed the Court.

The Court also opposed the government's argument that the case should go to the Armed Forces Tribunal. When the chief has just four months of service left, the Court asked, why delay? And any appeal against the AFT's decision would come up before the Supreme Court again, the judges observed.

Scoreline at the end of Day 1: Vijay Kumar Singh --- 1; Union of India --- 0


  1. A big question, had General Singh's DOB being accepted as 1951 couple of years back where was Gen Singh in the seniority list for taking command of Indian Army

  2. Three cheers!
    The Hon'ble Minister of Defence needs his "clean" image sandpapered and repainted.

  3. Scoreline at the end of Day 1:
    Vijay Kumar Singh --- 1;
    Govt of India --- 0

  4. hello sir,

    i hope that would be the end of all discussion regarding f-35,sir....

  5. India's higher
    judiciary is such a powerful force
    in this country.

  6. I am glad that the general has a spine. Even if he loses this battle, I admire his courage for fighting for what he believes to be true.

  7. Vijay Kumar Singh (IND) --- 1
    UPA govt (Congress/Corrupt) --- 0

  8. It seems Mr. Antony denied some of your father or sponsor firm from looting India.I like your spirit of being a good slave to your foreign master.Try to be a journalist.At least try.

  9. I love the fact that an Armyman - one of the few left in this motherland of ours, with a spine - is using the judiciary to clean the Augean stables that are the filthy, dirt filled Govt of India.

  10. I disagree with the representation of the scoreline Mr. Shukla, this clearly demonstrates Repulic of India-1, Congress Govt and its cronies-0.
    I move that post this SC decision, we must respectfully insist on the immediate resignation of the Attorney General, Defence Secretary and Minister for Defence.
    This is a non-negotiable demand by the people of India.

  11. I wish the corrupt politicians who cheated annaji and the country be tried in Supreme court pleading for their lives.

    Wish to hear the Final Judgement as : All corrupt politicians be hanged to death and their property confiscated.

  12. Truth finally prevailed. Saw your discussion on interview A+ on ndtv. Slap on corrupt anchors/politicions. Better than wrong marketing that you were doing before, way to go colone.

  13. With egg on the Govt's face it's amusing how media houses lead by shameless journos who alleged "self before service" are now conveniently shifting their media gaze onto the 2G scam in order to divert the public's perception of their equal complicity with the govt. to assassinate the army chief's impeccable character which I might add is whiter than St. Anthony's mundu. Your's is the only blog that has actively followed the story and provided unbiased reporting on the matter. Kudos to you to keep the flame of objective journalism alive. This issue is now as much a test of Indian judicial redressal system as much as it's a DOB records issue of an upstanding public servant. Expect Dr. Madhavan Nair to follow in the general's footsteps.

  14. Its strange that this so called "spine" was hidden for so many years, and comes out at the time of retirement. Strange that the General of our Army had to buckle down and given in writing accepting his DOB as 1950. Hopefully he has not buckled down to any other "pressures" that this esteemed post is in. The rot is at all the places not restricted and army is also not left out. The General should also stand up for the people he commands, who sacrifice their life for our country, who do not have even the quality amenities required for survival. All the hype for this issue but the major issues regarding the army are never taken up.

  15. Dear Sir, Firstly congratulations and thanks for the great job on TV on behalf of the Army. Few points u might highlight next time.
    1. All personnel in the DEO are civilians from the MOD and are actually the ones involved in all land scams, along with politicians and Babus.
    2. All military pers convicted in any scam from Tehalka on wards have faced exemplary punishment, unlike their civil counterparts.
    3. There is no such thing as a line of succession even for a head sweeper in a municipal corporation, or a Defense minister, then who has cast this in stone for the COAS?
    4. Finally if the MOD/GOI is convinced of its grounds they would , if they could, have sacked the Chief long ago. By this one act the Chief has upheld his own honor and the honor of every one who has ever worn a uniform. Gen Hoon etc notwithstanding. The RM/PM should actually be demanding the head of their advisers who have let them in this shit.
    Anyway do keep up the good work.

  16. Col. Shukla

    While you have been doing a great job calling out the BS being spouted by retired babus and even some retired top brass, not even you are willing to train the guns on the real villain of this entire piece - Deepak Kapoor. The man is the A Raja of the Indian Army - are you doing your duty as a journalist by not going after him, knowing very well all the shenaningans he was upto?

  17. Firstly, the Army Chief says this is about his honour, not his post.
    However, there is no service vs honour distinction. The Army Chief is completely subordinate to the President. That is why only the President is Commander in Chief. If his honour is tarnished the only option is resignation...which is accepted only at the President’s pleasure, which is exercised by the Raksha Mantri (idiotic comments on his mundu notwithstanding)

    Now my main point; At senior ranks, promotion is decided mainly by age.....the older you are the better your chance. I present an article by a fine journalist in support of my view.

    Now how was it possible that the Army Chief did not know the Military Sec had a wrong DOB? The most logical answer was that he knew, because all his previous promotions were based on the MIL Sec’s DOB...i.e the older one. Also his NDA record listed him as 1950 born. A serving Army Officers son with a good education would be very unlikely to enter a wrong DOB, at the Services Selection Board would be my feeling, least of all a wrong DOB listing him as older. Now that he is where he is due to that DOB, he wants to change it to the younger one and get a year more. An act known widely as have, cake, eat it, and steal the tablecloth.
    I would have a lot more respect for Gen Singh if
    a) He had shown such alacrity in defending the army in a million other ways, such as a push for a quick decision on new artillery systems and weapon locating radar, pushing for those combat helicopter squadrons the IAF is blocking or a real push for bringing back the soldier’s Izzat.
    b) If he decides to defend his honour in court after retiring. At least that will avoid the unseemly sight of an Army Chief taking his Commander in Chief’s Government to court. I know you are not a lawyer, I am, and even I know the court is not an answer to everything.

    And finally, I never thought I'd ever read this headline in an Indian Newspaper: "Army Chief blames Army for Fiasco."

    Now I am sure the fantasists think the Army is infiltrated by Congress Wallahs, but for us realists, the Raksha Mantri made his decision in an issue which will never be proven completely either way. The Army Chief, if he was born in 1951, is guilty of incompetence at best if he allowed a wrong DOB to stay in Army records till he became chief. Now with decision made, he must go, this is the honourable way. Taking his Govt to court sets a bad precedent.

  18. Dude, seriously. I get it you're an ex army man and hence side with the general, but consider these facts.

    1. The real date of birth doesnt matter. Its a procedural matter for the sake of calculating seniority and hence promotions. The general himself has admitted this by giving in writing that he will accept it as the 1950 DOB.

    2. The logical solution for thisvappears to have been for the govt to admit that his DOB is the 1951 date but since his previous promotions were based on the 1950 date, Insist that he retires this year anyway. This perhaps would have been acceptable to the general too. But this involves an out of the book executive decision from the MOD, headed by antony who is known to go by the book on everything.

    So the criticism against Antony is not that he is irresponsible, corrupt or inefficient. It is that he has chosen to walk into a bureaucratic mess sticking to procedure, rather than make a one time exception and sort out the mess.

    I dont want to take a side but I believe the only way a politician can remain clean in a messed up political system like India is to go by the book, no matter how ridiculous the book is. Antony is perhaps an unimaginative moron for choosing to do this, but In a country where every original decision is questioned and reinterpreted a million times (like the entire 2g hullabaloo), what he did might have been the wisest thing to do. It is easy for the millions of 'disillusioned' and 'angry' youth to criticize a man like Antony, when they themselves are neither willing to get into politics or place integrity above practicality.

    3. The general, who I believe has expressed willingness to retire this year itself, if the govt accepts his DOB as 1951, is in that case fighting for nothing that makes a real difference. He is fighting to get his honour and name cleared, all of which would never have been tainted if he didnt in the beginning bring up the issue that 1951 is his date of birth. Questioning civilian authority in this time of insecurity is irresponsible. The army, no matter how great an organization and how superior it is in its ethos and beliefs to the corrupt civilian establishment, In the end has the duty of submitting itself to the civilian establishment.

  19. This is a huge win for India. Idiots be damned!

    - Manne

  20. It's gratifying to learn that the hearing did not create any hurdles in the way of the petition, which appears to be impeccably based on a just and balanced rationale.

    It may not be a case for feeling extra jubilant, however. Both sides of the argument are, after all, from our defence set up. It is never the hon'ble minister of any minstry who acts as per his own wisdom. These are policy matters, there's a organizational machinery with a mindset of it's own that creates incongruous situations where one part of our government appears to be in conflict with another.

    We should celebrate only that we have a world class judiciary that can be expected to deliver a sound rationalisation of such intricate and contentious issues.

  21. If a man sold out himself... for a posting... clearly in this case... his last posting... whether he can be called... even a man... eunuch's have a better... esteem than this person... you cannot such a person even a person... forget being claiming to be a soldier of our enemy nations... what not is the person for sale...

  22. The rolling juggernaut of the destiny!

  23. and to add to anon@4 February 2012 14:48's comment if I might add the name of "His Excellency" J.J. Singh who was in the MS branch and deliberately allowed the error to continue and eventually come to this pass. The complicity of these two army chiefs whose tenure saw the maximum scams in the army's otherwise impeccable history definitely needs to be examined, investigated and exposed. As long as people like Deepak Kapoor and J.J. Singh become army chiefs the rot in the army will only become worse and the whistle blowers in the army will always fear for their lives.

  24. ------

    US tells no F-35 or JSF for India, only F-16 or F-18.

    Ajaiji, is your stomach now full?..

    You have been telling to drop MMRCA deal & go for F-35's!!. Now what will you tell?...

  25. VK Singh would have done all this drama before taking the chief's office if he want to retain his dignity.Now he is doing it after tasting the honey for two years in the office.It doesn't feel justifiable to drag the system to shame and making public mess at the wrong time.
    An example of what happens if your stupid articles are taken seriously.
    "In view of inordinate delay in the production of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, the US Air Force is being forced to spend USD 2.8 billion to upgrade its ageing F-16 fleet."

  26. The General has brought shame on the Indian Army. Lost his face, with the land scandal. Now fighting to stay in his seat.
    Anthony should have fired him.

  27. Strange that you defend the Army Chief going to court against the Govt as something thats acceptable and normal.

    What would your reaction be if tomorrow the serving Home minister of the country takes the Govt to court? anyone sane persons reaction would be, let the Home Minster resign and then sue the govt. You cannot serve the Govt and sure it at the same time.

    You're a journalist, not a PR mouthpiece for the General or the Army, you need to act like one.

  28. Col., I am beginning to wonder what has come about you in the last few months. I know old age sometimes can make people irrational and irritable, but you seem to be losing your composure and objectivity as a journalist! As I have indicated before, you've been someone I have looked up to for some time and I am sad to see this rather dramatic turn away from measured judgement and responsible journalism into a rather uncoordinated descent into sensationalistic, hedonistic gibberish!
    As many have pointed out as you well know - the defense minister or the ministry has little to do with this misunderstanding. It is mostly the Army's fault not to have sorted this matter internally.
    Secondly, the General can be eminently faulted for overlooking to have this matter resolved much earlier. He should have at least resolved it prior to him accepting his appointment as the chief of Army staff.
    Finally, the General by moving the courts has made it clear that he puts self above country in matters of personal advancement and that in itself should be reason enough for him to step down. The right thing for him to do would have been to tender his resignation to the President.

    Lastly, I would encourage you to do some serious soul searching. You could do well with a break. Think before you write ( or should I say type).

    From a well wisher.....

  29. Anon @ 14:52

    IAF is spending about $1.6 billion to upgrade some 40 mirage fighter. So what's your point about 2.8 billion to upgrade a few hundred F-16?


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