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SC refuses to block Gen Dalbir Singh’s rise

New Delhi, Jul 7 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the appointment of Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag as the next Army Chief who is to take over the charge from August 1.

“There is no reason why should we stay,” a bench headed by Justice T.S.Thakur said.

The apex court said that there is no urgency to stay the appointment of Lt Gen Singh as pleaded by Lt Gen Ravi Dastane.

The Centre also justified the appointment, saying there is nothing in the allegations levelled by Lt Gen Dastane and Lt Gen Singh fulfills all the criteria for the post. He was the seniormost in the seniority list, it said.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the ban imposed on Lt Gen Singh in 2012 was lifted and he was discharged from all charges.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Lt Gen Dastane alleging favouritism in the selection of Lt Gen Suhag as the next Army Chief.

Earlier, the Centre had submitted that the alleged lapses that were made as grounds to impose disciplinary ban on Lt Gen Suhag by then Army Chief Gen V.K.Singh between April and May 2012 were “premeditated”, “vague” and “illegal”.

Gen Singh, who is a now Minister of State in the NDA government, had placed Lt Gen Dalbir Singh under a disciplinary and vigilance (DV) ban.

The ban was imposed for alleged “failure of command and control” in an operation carried out by an intelligence unit working directly under him when he was commanding the Dimapur-based 3 Corps.

In its last days in office, the UPA-II government had named Lt Gen Dalbir Singh as the Army Chief to succeed incumbent Gen Bikram Singh when he retires on July 31.

The Ministry of Defence, in an affidavit filed earlier in the apex court registry, had said, “The alleged lapses observed by the then COAS, as reflected in show cause notice, were premeditated and issued in utter disregard to the legal provisions governing the court of inquiry, principles of natural justice...the lapses were vague, based on presumptions and legally and factually not maintainable