Vice-Admiral Bimal Verma on Tuesday moved the Armed Forces Tribunal for the second time after the government named his junior officer Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as the next navy chief last month, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The case will come up for hearing on April 25, the first person said.
Verma had petitioned the AFT against his supersession earlier too, but was asked to withdraw his plea and raise matter with the defence ministry first.
Withdrawing his plea earlier this month, Verma filed a statutory complaint to defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, requesting that a decision be taken in 10 days.
“He has approached the AFT again as the 10- day period ended on Monday and the ministry hasn’t responded to his complaint,” said the second person.
The two top admirals, Verma and Singh, are among the battery of senior navy officials currently attending the three-day biannual Naval Commanders’ Conference, which began in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Verma, who heads the Andaman and Nicobar Command in Port Blair, would have been the senior-most officer in the navy on May 31 when current chief Admiral Sunil Lanba retired. But the government last month decided against appointing him and opted for Singh. Singh currently heads the Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Naval Command.
While seniority is usually followed when a new service chief is named, there have been instances when the government has overlooked it. For instance, when General Bipin Rawat was named army chief in December 2016, the National Democratic Alliance government did supersede two lieutenant generals who were senior to him. However, none of the two superseded generals approached the court.
The previous UPA government also did not go by seniority in 2014 when Admiral Robin Dhowan superseded a senior officer, Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, to become the navy chief. Sinha also did not seek legal remedy.
Apr 24, 2021 00:00 IST