New Delhi: The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) on Thursday directed the defence ministry to decide on the petition of Vice-Admiral Bimal Verma challenging his supersession for the Navy Chief’s post by May 15.
The AFT asked the government to communicate the decision to Vice-Admiral Verma by May 17. The tribunal has listed the matter for hearing on May 20.
During the proceedings on Thursday, the government told the tribunal that statutory complaint is under active consideration and is likely to be decided finally within four weeks’ time whereas as per Regulation 239 of the Regul-ations for the Navy Part-II (statutory), the time limit is six months. Additional solicitor general Aman Lekhi asked the tribunal to defer the hearing till the defence ministry takes a decision on the statutory complaint of the applicant.
Mr Lekhi said that the order passed on the statutory complaint will also be communicated to the applicant within two/three days of the passing of the order.
“Let statutory complaint dated 10th April, 2019, moved by the applicant be accorded consideration by 15th May, 2019, positively and the order passed thereon shall be communicated to the applicant by 17th May, 2019,” said the AFT in its order on Thursday.
Vice-Admiral Verma had earlier withdrawn his a petition challenging his supersession with the AFT because as per rules, he was suppose to take up the matter first with the defence ministry.
He had then on April 11 filed a statutory complaint to the defence ministry asking the government to decided on the matter within 10 days. After failing to get any communication with 10 days, Vice-Admiral Verma again approached the AFT on Tuesday.
Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command Vice-Admiral Verma is six months senior to Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh.
In his original petition to the tribunal, Vice-Admiral Verma had said that the government had in an “arbitrary and whimsical” manner ignored the recommendation of the Chief of Naval Staff and appointed his junior, Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh, as the next Navy Chief.