Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A Mistake Is Entitled To Correction

The present controversy about the two dates of births of Army Chief, General VK Singh reminds me of my experience about mistake in documentation and rectification of the same :-

Few years back I approached Army Headquarters’ Adjutant General's Branch to obtain dependent certificates for my sons. As I approached the concerned officer in the AG’s Branch, he noted down my service details and asked me to wait in the visitors' room for a while. Though, I was expecting that after submitting my request I would be asked to come the next day or after few days, as it is done in other Government Departments, but to my pleasant surprise, in just about fifteen minutes' time, the Subedar Clerk of the concerned section came to the visitors' room and handed me the dependent certificate (swift action might have been due to the genius of computerization). As I glanced through the document I was surprised to find a different name of one of my sons, although other details on the document were correct.  On asking for the dependent certificate for the second son, the Subedar Clerk replied that my record of service showed only one child. 

I thought for a while and could immediately put two and two together.

Both my sons were born at Military Hospital, Jalandhar Cantt, where I was posted during my Army tenure in early eighties. When my first child was expected, we, in the family often  discussed  that if it was a boy we would name him Sapandeep and if it was a girl, then the name would be Deepali, (that reflected my fancy for word 'Deep' which means lamp or the source of light).  While my wife was in total agreement with me on this matter, my mother differed and categorically told us that firstly, she was damn sure that it would be a boy and secondly that he would be named Sartaj Singh.
As the D day approached, we were blessed with a son, the grandmother’s wish was honored and the new born was christened Sartaj Singh.
In the Army, the personal effects of an officer, like marriage and birth of children are published by the officer’s unit in which he or she is serving, which are called Part Two Orders which are further forwarded to the Army Headquarters for putting them in the record of service of the officers in addition to the official effects like date of birth, date of commission, dates of transfers/postings, appointments held, training courses undergone, promotion examinations passed, medical category held, battles fought, and honors and awards won.

 It had so happened that after the birth of my elder son, the Unit Head Clerk, while publishing the Part Two Orders, had not consulted me about the name of the child and had instead depended on the informal information emanating out of the discussion which had been going on for some time amongst Battalion officers about the name of my son and had published his name as Sapandeep Singh which in turn was recorded in the Army Headquartes too. Another mistake which was committed  was that the Part Two Orders were not at all published with regard to the birth of my second son due to an oversight, since, at the time of his birth, i was away undergoing three months' Junior Command Course at College of Combat Mhow (Madhya Pradesh), and in the bargain, my record of service in the Army Headquarters showed only one child and that too with a wrong name.

I narrated the complete story to the Officer concerned of the section who asked  me to submit  two affidavits, one for the change of the name of  my elder son, giving due justification and second, for the birth of my younger  son, along with relevant documents like, birth certificate and or class tenth certificate, where the correct date of birth is recorded along with the names of both the parents. I submitted the said affidavits, with the desired documents and  I got my Modified Record of Service, duly showing all the correct details about my service and my family etc.

Well, a mistake can always be committed in documentation due to an oversight but a mistake is also entitled to a correction.


BK Chowla, said...

I feel,this issue has been badly handled by Govt.
It is almost playing with fire taking on Armed forces.

Anonymous said...

My Views
Mistakes other than rape and murder can always be rectified. One senior officer told me once, "son, carry a sorry in one pocket and a thank you in the other through out your life, but ensure there is no hole in your pocket..."The armed forces should have woken up long back and not wait for him to be the COAS. How can AG and MS maintain two different records, that too of the DOB, the most important of all documents? Generally class X certificate is an authentic proof of DOB and accepted pan-India. Now since this has become a National issue, if not international, the fire shall burn, I guess. The mistake needs immediate rectification.


Lt Colonel (Retd) Kaushik Sircar,
Mob: 9734277684, 033-30027429


Anonymous said...

I dont care about the mistake, but I love the way you write. and this was one hell of an interesting mistake.
Thank you for sharing

Dr. Manpreet Kaur Sahota

Anonymous said...

Bali dear ,

Nice .......I like d fact u r open to reason nd willing to test room for doubt before accepting controversial facts ......



Balvinder Singh said...

Mr. Chowla, you are right, though it is right as pointed out by Col Sircar that Army or General VK Singh himself should have woken up long time back because now it seems that many forces are playing to keep the controversy alive which includes our esteemed politicians as well. Capt Amrinder Singh, the former Chief Minister of Punjab and himself an Ex Army officer and a Congress-man has already politicized the issue.

Anonymous said...

I don't know Balli! I only think that if I had been in his place I would not like such a controversy kicked up when you are holding such an exalted position. There are so many people who lose out on a few months or a year since the time they were in school any date their parents gave was ok. It would be gracious of him to say that even though the date given is incorrect, I accept and bow out gracefully. Rather than becoming a point of endless discussion. And if he does get that extra year do you think he can really enjoy it after all tarnishing his name has gone thru?
My views totally.


Shobhaa De said...

Thank you, Sir, for sharing this information so lucidly.

warm regards and much admiration,


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