NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a petition challenging the appointment of Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Army chief.
The court said that after carefully going through the petition and the material placed before it, it does not find any justiciable ground to entertain the plea.
However, it added that the dismissal of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) shall not have an impact on any pending proceedings against Lt Gen Singh.
Earlier, the court had perused the documents submitted before it by the Centre regarding the appointment of Lt Gen Singh as the Army Chief-designate.
It noted that the Centre had gone through all allegations against Lt Gen Singh before giving the green signal for his appointment.
The PIL, filed by petitioners including former Naval Chief Admiral L. Ramdas, had alleged Lt Gen Singh’s involvement in a fake encounter in 2001 in Kashmir.
The petitioners also alleged that Lt Gen Singh did not take action against certain officers accused of sexual harassment when he was leading a UN peacekeeping force in Congo.
The petitioners warned that these charges should not be ignored as they are serious in nature, adding that Lt Gen Singh was promoted not entirely on grounds of merit.
The court sought to know whether the charges against Lt Gen Singh were forwarded to the Cabinet Committee on Appointments when the green signal was given for him to succeed Gen V.K. Singh as the next Army Chief when the latter retires on May 31.
The Government had claimed that the PIL was filed with malafide intention and with an intention to rake up the controversy of the Army Chief’s age once again.
It maintained that Lt Gen Singh’s appointment was done in a transparent manner, adding that there was a communal angle to the case.
The apex court then restrained the petitioners from coming up with “bald” allegations against Lt Gen Singh.
The court, while agreeing to hear the PIL against Lt Gen Singh’s appointment as the Army Chief-designate, however, said it will not re-consider the age controversy of the Army Chief Gen V K Singh.
The court had earlier declined to conduct the proceedings in the matter ‘in-camera’ (in private).