Singh's fate was crystal clear from the beginning

Though the proceedings lasted for nearly three hours in the jam packed court No 8 of the Supreme Court, the writing on the wall for Army chief Gen V K Singh was virtually clear right at the very beginning.

Though counsel U U Lalit sought to go into the nitty gritty of the events starting from Singh's induction into the service, the bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale confined itself to only two major issues.

The bench persistently queried the counsel whether the UPSC corrected the date of birth of Singh on his request and why he chose to "resile" from his commitments to abide by May 10, 1950, as his date of birth in the three letters signed by him between 2008 and 2009.

As the counsel failed to respond adequately and instead attempted to argue on the various correspondence between Singh and government, the bench "said the recognition of his date of birth as May 10, 1950, by the Army does not suffer from perversity and was not grossly erroneous" that warranted its interference.

The remark sent out a clear message that the court was inclined to reject Gen Singh's petition.

It then gave the option to Singh to withdraw the petition and said "or otherwise we will pass orders."

Apparently sensing Lalit's dilemma, the bench said at around 1.20pm that it was willing to re-assemble at 2 p.m to enable the counsel seek instructions from Singh on the options left before him, an offer, he lapped up.

Later, when the court re-assembled at 2pm, the army chief attempted a last-ditch battle when Lalit said "I will resign within 48 hours if government is willing to decide my date of birth as May 10, 1951."

But it failed to convince the court which then dictated the order.

Though on Mondays and Fridays which are listed as miscellaneous days for deciding fresh petitions, matters are disposed off within a few minutes, Singh's case consumed nearly three hours.

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