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If Seniority Only Criterion, Even Computer Would Have Selected an Army Chief: Parrikar

File photo of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. (GETTY IMAGES)

New Delhi: Stressing that due procedures were “perfectly followed” by the government in appointing the new Army Chief, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said if seniority were the only criterion, then a computer could have selected service chiefs based on date of birth.

He added there would not have been need of any due process or Cabinet Committee for Appointment if seniority alone was the criterion.

He was responding to a question on whether the government intends to go in for deep selection and setting aside seniority principle when it comes to selection of service chiefs.

“First of all, I do not know where there is principle of seniority. There is a procedure set wherein all commanders are verified for their performance. I can assure you that those who were considered were all good. Too good and probably that is the reason why we could not take decision early,” Parrikar said in a press conference here.

The government has last month selected Gen Bipin Rawat as the new army chief superseding two other officers – Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Lt Gen P M Hariz – breaking away from the tradition of seniority principle since 1983.

“They are all good, capable. Circumstances probably required this selection…if you go by seniority principle then there would be no requirement of any procedure.

“There would be no requirement of any Raksha Mantri, there would no requirement of Cabinet Committee on Appointment because then it is a computer job. Date of birth decides who becomes General,” he said.

He questioned why the government needs to spend 4-5 months studying the profile of officers, taking Intelligence Bureau reports among others.

“I can tell you this much that procedure has been perfectly followed as laid down. You can read the procedure. No procedural violation has taken place,” Parrikar said.