New Delhi: The seniormost naval commander, Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, has again approached the court challenging the appointment of his junior Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as the next Navy Chief. (Also read: Vice Admiral Verma Withdraws Plea Challenging Supersession For Naval Chief’s Post) Also Read - Chief Admiral Karambir Singh Issues Guidelines Seeking Equality in Force
Vice Admiral Verma, who is commanding Port Blair-based Andaman and Nicobar Command, had first approached the tribunal on April 8 but withdrew his petition as he had not taken the legal recourse available to him within the force. Also Read - Karambir Singh Takes Over From Sunil Lanba as New Chief of Naval Staff
In his plea, Verma has asked the Armed Forces Tribunal to stay the government order of March 23 to appoint Karambir Singh as the next Navy Chief instead of him. “Call for confidential reports of the applicant and Vice Admiral Karambir… examine them to see whether any irrelevant and extraneous considerations were placed to reject applicant’s case and if so, to expunge the extraneous considerations and direct the competent authority to re-examine the case,” the plea said. Also Read - Navy Chief Supersession Case Deferred, Karambir Singh to Take Charge on May 31, Subject to Tribunal Decision
The plea said that the Vice Admiral had filed a statutory complaint before the Defence Ministry for not being appointed the next Navy Chief despite being the seniormost and asked it to decide the matter urgently within ten days. “The complaint is still pending with the competent authority and hence this original application (petition),” the plea said.
In a communication dated March 23, he had stated that the government has “illegally” and in a “wrongful” manner appointed his junior Karambir Singh as the next Navy chief.
Verma had stated that he felt that the respondents (government) had illegally and in a wrongful manner used the two letters of Severe Displeasure, which were issued to him in 2005 and 2007, to deny him the post of the Navy chief.
The two letters were issued to Verma on October 28, 2005, and June 20, 2007, and he was promoted to the rank of Commodore and Rear Admiral afterwards, thereby taking away the sting of the said letters. Verma also said that “it is imperative that the Armed Forces court apply the ‘Wednesbury rule’ and consider whether relevant facts are not considered and irrelevant facts were considered by the respondents before passing the impugned letter.”
The Naval headquarters forwarded the name of Verma along with Vice Admiral Karambir Singh and Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar, the Flag Officer Commander-in-Chief Western Naval Command and Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, the Flag Officer Commander-in-Chief Southern Naval Command, to head the Navy.