"Lt.Gen. Dastane in his application said that if he were appointed as the Eastern Command chief instead of putting on hold Lt.Gen. Suhag and clearing him later, he (Lt. Gen. Dastane) would have definitely been considered for the post of Chief of Army Staff as he had more than four years to serve when he was empanelled for the post of corps commander. "
New Delhi, June 19 - The Supreme Court Thursday said it will hear in the second week of July a plea seeking to restrain the government from going ahead with the appointment of Lt. Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag as the next Indian Army chief.
A bench of Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh directed that the plea of Lt.Gen. Ravi Dastane be listed for hearing in the second week of July after the court was told that Lt. Gen. Suhag has already been appointed as the chief of army staff designate and would succeed incumbent Gen. Bikram Singh Aug 1.
Lt.Gen. Dastane's main plea challenging the Armed Forces Tribunal's verdict is directed to come up for hearing in September 2014. The AFT by its Sep 6, 2013, verdict rejected his plea challenging the appointment of Lt.Gen. Suhag as the chief of the army's Eastern Command.
It is this appointment of Lt.Gen. Suhag which made him eligible for the army chief's post.
Lt.Gen. Dastane moved the apex court Dec 17, 2013, against the AFT order.
In his application before the court, he urged the court that appointment of Lt.Gen. Suhag may not be carried out till his appeal was heard and decided.
Lt.Gen. Dastane in his application has said that when the government appointed Lt.Gen. Suhag and Lt.Gen. Sanjiv Chachra as the Eastern and Western command chiefs, it went strictly by seniority, and when the names were sent to the Cabinet Committee on Appointments, there was no administrative, disciplinary or vigilance proceedings against Lt.Gen. Suhag.
However, while their names were being considered, a disciplinary and vigilance ban was imposed on him by the then army chief Gen. V.K.Singh and it was communicated to the cabinet secretariat. This resulted in putting on hold Lt.Gen. Suhag's appointment as the Eastern Command chief.
However, the appointment was cleared after Gen. V.K. Singh's successor, Gen. Bikram Singh reversed the ban.
Lt.Gen. Dastane in his application said that if he were appointed as the Eastern Command chief instead of putting on hold Lt.Gen. Suhag and clearing him later, he (Lt. Gen. Dastane) would have definitely been considered for the post of Chief of Army Staff as he had more than four years to serve when he was empanelled for the post of corps commander.
Contending that he has a strong case in his favour, Lt.Gen. Dastane said that a great injustice is being done to appellant as he has remained as Lt.Gen. (corps commander) for nearly four years without being considered for the post of army commander.