Vice Admiral Bimal Verma on Tuesday filed a fresh petition at a military tribunal in Delhi seeking the cancellation of his colleague Karambir Singh’s appointment as the next Indian Navy chief, reported PTI. The Defence Ministry had rejected his petition on Saturday.
The tribunal will hear the petition on Wednesday, Verma’s lawyer Ankur Chhibber told PTI. Chhibber said a previous petition filed with the Armed Forces Tribunal was withdrawn on Monday for filing the detailed plea.
Verma had on April 10 contested the government’s decision against selecting him despite him being the most senior officer in the force. 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.
In its order, the ministry said seniority is not the only deciding factor in the selection of service chiefs. “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, adding that Verma was “found unsuitable to tenets of the appointment” of the chief of naval staff.
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.
Singh will be the first helicopter pilot to become chief of naval staff. 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.