Supreme Court refuses to stay appointment of Dalbir Singh Suhag as next Army Chief

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the appointment of Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag as the next Army Chief. Lt. Gen. Suhag is to take over 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 there is no urgency to stay the appointment of Lt. Gen. Suhag 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. Suhag fulfils all the criteria for the post. He was the senior-most in the seniority list, it said.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the ban imposed on Lt. Gen. Suhag 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 which 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. Suhag 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 Dimapur-based 3 Corps commander.

In its last days in office, the UPA-II government had named Lt. Gen. Suhag 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.”

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