Sorry and sad over Gen Singh age issue: Antony

New Delhi: Breaking his silence on the age controversy surrounding Army chief Gen V K Singh, Defence Minister A K Antony today said he was "sorry and sad" over it and left it to the Supreme Court to decide the matter.

Noting that there are constitutional forums to question a government`s decision, he said, "The Army headquarters and government take decisions many a time but now there are questions…there are constitutional forums to question the decisions of government."

Antony said government was exercising "maximum restraint and patience" on the age row and contended that the matter could not be settled in a sensational manner.

"I have always been against public debate on this, but unfortunately some of you are celebrating it. This is not an issue for celebration. I feel sorry and sad about the controversy. That is why inspite of something being misunderstood, I was keeping silence because I believe this is not an issue that can be decided on public platform or (through) public debate," he told reporters when asked about the row surrounding Army chief`s age.

Replying to a question as to why the government allowed the issue to linger on for seven months, he said, "Our government is keeping maximum restraint and patience because these issues cannot be handled in a sensational manner through public debate."

The Minister said government will wait for the final verdict of the Supreme Court on the matter. "The decision (of the government) has now been questioned and matter is before the Supreme Court. Lets all wait for the verdict of the SC. Please avoid controversy and let us wait for the final verdict of the SC," he said.

Singh has challenged the decision of the government which has determined his date of birth as 10.5.1950 and not a year later.