Everybody has right to justice: Soni on army chief

New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni Tuesday said it was army chief Gen V.K. Singh’s right to move court seeking justice over his age dispute.

‘Every human being has a right to seek justice if he feels he has been denied justice and in that sense it is (the) right of every Indian,’ Soni told reporters here, a day after Gen Singh took the government to court in the issue over his date of birth.

However, the minister refused a direct comment over the controversy, saying ‘if he has gone to the court, I am not a person to comment’.

‘I am afraid it’s very difficult to make it into an issue or controversy… The armed forces we have always dealt with high respect and high regard,’ she said.

Gen Singh, citing his birth records, says he was born in 1951 and is not due to retire until March 2013. But records at the defence ministry show he was born in 1950, which means he is due to retire in May this year. Gen Singh was appointed army chief in March 2010.

He moved the Supreme Court Monday after the ministry in December rejected his statutory complaint, requesting change of his year of birth in official records to 1951 from 1950.

This is the first time that a chief of the 1.13-million-strong army — the world’s second largest — has taken the government to court while still in service.