Defence Ministry rejects Bimal Verma's petition challenging appointment of Navy Chief

In an order, the defence ministry said Verma's statutory petition dated April 10 against appointment of Vice Admiral Singh to the top post is devoid of merit and has been rejected in exercise of powers under Section 23 of the Navy Act 1957.

Defence Ministry rejects Bimal Verma's petition challenging appointment of Navy Chief
Verma, commander-in-chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command and senior-most naval commander, had moved a military tribunal last month questioning Vice Admiral Singh's appointment as the next Navy Chief, overlooking his seniority. Singh will take over as the new Navy chief from incumbent Admiral Sunil Lanba, who is retiring on May 31./ ANI IMAGE
By: PTI
Updated: 18 May 2019 08:52 PM
New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has rejected Vice Admiral Bimal Verma's petition challenging the appointment of his junior, Vice Admiral Karambir Singh, as the next Navy Chief, holding that seniority is not the sole criteria for selection.

In an order, the defence ministry said Verma's statutory petition dated April 10 against appointment of Vice Admiral Singh to the top post is devoid of merit and has been rejected in exercise of powers under Section 23 of the Navy Act 1957.


Verma, commander-in-chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command and senior-most naval commander, had moved a military tribunal last month questioning Vice Admiral Singh's appointment as the next Navy Chief, overlooking his seniority. Singh will take over as the new Navy chief from incumbent Admiral Sunil Lanba, who is retiring on May 31.

The tribunal had on April 25 directed the defence ministry to decide Verma's petition within three weeks.

"The Chief of Naval Staff is selected from amongst the senior most eligible Vice Admirals of the Indian Navy in the rank of Commander-in-Chief/VCNS (Vice Chief of Naval Staff) through a rigorous selection process, where seniority though an important consideration is not the sole criteria for selection," the defence ministry said in its order in response to Verma's petition.

"Thus in the past too seniority has been dispensed with in appointment of CNS," it said.

In the order, the defence ministry also mentioned about two letters of "Severe Displeasure" issued to Verma on October 28, 2005 and June 29, 2007, saying "it would be incorrect to say that throughout his service tenure he has never been informed or communicated about any shortcomings or misdemeanors against him.

It said he was also not appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the two operational commands of the Indian Navy -- Eastern and the Western Command.

The defence ministry said a thorough selection process was conducted under which overall service profile of all the contenders for the top post was examined.

It said specific parameters for selection were applied uniformly to all the contenders and based on the assessment, it was found that Vice Admiral Verma, though being the senior most eligible officer, was found unsuitable to hold the post of the Chief of the Naval Staff.

"The central government is also satisfied that no unsubstantiated, frivolous, extraneous or irrelevant consideration has had a bearing on the said selection," the defence ministry said.

In his petition, Verma had mentioned about the Navy Order (Special) 01/2012 which, he said, laid down procedure for selection of officers to ranks of Rear Admiral and Vice Admiral, adding thrust of it was a merit cum-seniority-based approach.

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