The Defence Ministry on Saturday rejected the plea of Vice Admiral Bimal Verma who contested the appointment of his colleague Karambir Singh as the next Indian Navy chief, reports said. On April 10, Verma had contested the government’s decision against selecting him despite him being the senior-most officer in the force.

In its order, the ministry said seniority is not the only deciding factor in the selection of service chiefs, ANI reported. “The Central government after careful examination of the matter is of the opinion that this statutory petition dated April 10 from Vice Admiral Verma regarding his non-selection as the chief of naval staff is devoid of merit and be rejected.” the order issued by the Defence Ministry’s Joint Secretary (Navy) Richa Misra said, while adding that Verma was “found unsuitable to tenets of the appointment” of the chief of naval staff.

Misra said that the Centre is clear that no “unsubstantiated frivolous, extraneous or irrelevant consideration” has impacted the selection.

On April 25, the Armed Forces Tribunal in Delhi had given the defence ministry three weeks to decide on a petition filed by Verma about Singh’s appointment.

The government had appointed Singh, who is the flag officer commander-in-chief of Eastern Naval Command, the chief of the naval staff on March 23. He will take over as Navy chief on May 31 when the present chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba, retires.

Verma had called the appointment wrongful.

In 2016, while appointing the Army chief, the government did not follow the tradition of going by seniority. Bipin Rawat was appointed Army chief superseding then Eastern Command Chief Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi and Southern Command Chief PM Hariz.

Singh will be the first helicopter pilot to become chief of naval staff.