Former Army chief backs Gen V K Singh in age row

New Delhi: Former Army chief General Shankar Roychowdhury has come out in support of General V K Singh, who has dragged the government to the Supreme Court over his date of birth row, saying Singh was justified in doing so.

"I think so. Gen V K Singh is a very honourable man. The Army rests on the basis of honour and integrity…I don`t think he will compromise on honour unless he was driven to it," he said when asked if the Army chief was forced to go to the Supreme Court on the age issue.

Gen Singh filed a petition before the Supreme Court last week challenging government`s orders which had determined his date of birth to be May 10, 1950 and not May 10, 1951, which would have given him an extra ten months in office.

Asked if the Army chief was justified in approaching the court on the issue, Roychowdhury said, "Yes, of course, he can. Should he have gone to court, that is an issue which has to judged on the basis of overall events."

"It must be examined whether the chief was placed in a position by events in the background and how long they have been going around…Can a chief be placed in certain position by turn of events, the rulings of Defence Ministry where he has no option but to go to court," he said speaking to Karan Thapar in Devil`s Advocate programme.

Queried if it was right for a serving Army chief to have approached the court, Roychowdhury said, "If a serving major or a colonel can go to court, I don`t see why a Chief can`t go to court… He is an army person with an army persons` rights."

When pointed out that armies across the world were supposed to obey orders, the former Army chief said, "There are organisations that take advantage of these principles and force things on army which it does not like."