NEW DELHI, Jan 20 (IANS): The Supreme Court Friday rejected a petition which sought restoration of army chief General V.K. Singh's date of birth to May 10, 1951.
An apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar said: "In our view, the writ petition of the Grenadiers Association (Rohtak Chapter) is not maintainable", as the date of birth of an individual could not be decided by an association taking recourse to the PIL route.
The court asked senior counsel Bhim Singh: "Can we say that date of birth should be changed on a plea by an association, that too in a PIL?"
The court further asked the senior counsel: "Tell us how a plea in a service matter can be entertained by way of PIL?"
The court further said: "If we do this we will be setting a very wrong precedent."
The court said that it had to strictly go by the law. "We can't depart from the law."
The court said that it was "expressing no opinion on the merit of the case as a petition by General V.K. Singh is already pending before the court".
Chief Justice Kapadia said: "We don't want to go into the facts and merit of the case as there is a petition before us".
"Please don't misunderstand us. We can't go into the facts. The person concerned (Gen. Singh) has moved the court and his petition is pending and it will stand on its own legs."
Taking strong exception to the petitioner for referring to newspaper reports and annexing the opinion of the four former chief justices of India, an apparently displeased Kapadia said: "We are not concerned with media reports. We are not concerned with the opinion of ex-CJIs."
Kapadia also directed the court's registry not to accept any petition in which the opinion of retired judges is annexed. He said this direction would be valid for all the cases.
Gen. Singh has sued the government in the Supreme Court over rejection of his statutory complaint for rectification of official records to show his date of birth as May 10, 1951, instead of 1950.
Justice Patnaik cited several judgments of the apex court where in it was held that cases relating service matters could not be agitated by a third party through a PIL. Patnaik asked Bhim Singh to cite one judgment that would support his stand.
Earlier, Bhim Singh told the court that the whole nation is waiting for the re-determination of Gen. Singh's date of birth. He told the court that if that was permitted then tomorrow government would interfere with the date of birth of judges and others.
Such a situation would lead to chaos and anarchy in the country, Bhim Singh told the court.