Review plea against dismissal of PIL on next Army Chief

New Delhi: A petition was today filed in the Supreme Court by a formal Naval Chief and top retired bureaucrats seeking review of its order dismissing a PIL challenging the appointment of Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Army Chief. The review petition was filed against the April 23 order by which a bench comprising Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale had refused to interfere with government`s decision on the successor to Army Chief Gen V K Singh, who is to retire on May 31.

The petition contended that Centre had obtained the court order by "misrepresenting" facts. Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, through whom the petition was filed, said, "there was a suppression of material and misrepresentation of facts" when the PIL was dismissed. The apex court had dismissed the PIL after going through the confidential report of Lt Gen Bikram Singh.

It had said the government had considered various allegations against him before clearing his appointment and opined "there is no justiciable ground" for hearing the PIL challenging his appointment. "We have carefully gone through the averments made in the petitions. We do not find any justiciable ground to entertain the petition," the bench had said. It had said dismissal of the petition shall not affect any legal pending proceedings in court or any other forum in cases including an alleged encounter in Jammu and Kashmir.

The petitioners, including former Naval Chief Admiral L Ramdas and former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy, have challenged the appointment by levelling various allegations against him including his role in the fake encounter in J&K in 2001 and his questionable role during a UN peace keeping mission in 2008 in Congo. The government had on March 3 announced the appointment of Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Army chief.