New Delhi: The Armed Forces Tribunal has deferred the Navy chief supersession case for four weeks. The court has ordered for Vice Admiral Karambir Singh to take charge as the Navy Chief on May 31 but his appointment is subject to the outcome of the petition filed by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma and the final decision passed by the tribunal.

Verma, the seniormost naval commander, has filed a fresh petition in the Armed Forces Tribunal seeking quashing of the government orders for designating Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as next Navy Chief and the rejection of his statutory complaint by the Defence Ministry.

In his plea, Verma contended that the tribunal should call for the service records of both — him and Vice Admiral KB Singh — and see if any “extraneous or irrelevant considerations” were placed before the competent authority to reject his case while the Navy Chief appointment was being made.

“Quash the Defence Ministry order by which the Vice Admiral’s statutory complaint has been quashed on grounds that are extraneous, vague and unsubstantiated…quash the March 23 order by which Vice Admiral Karambir Singh has been appointed Chief of Naval Staff in place of the applicant (Vice Admiral Verma),” the fresh plea filed by Vice Admiral Verma said.

After the Defence Ministry rejected Verma’s statutory complaint, his lawyer had told ANI that “as per law we would be withdrawing the present petition with liberty to challenge the order issued by the government and request the tribunal to hear the matter before the new chief takes over.”

Before this, Verma had approached the Ministry of Defence for redressal of his grievance. While rejecting his plea, Defence Ministry’s Joint Secretary Richa Mishra had clarified that though seniority was an important criterion while appointing services chiefs, it was not the “sole” criterion and had been dispersed within the past too while appointing Navy chiefs.