AFT: Admiral Verma superseded justifiably
AFT said while Verma had not been able to make out a case of mala fide or bias against him, the government was able to prove that he had been superseded because of justifiable reasons.Updated: Sep 17, 2019 04:20 IST
Dismissing a petition filed by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma who had staked a claim to the navy chief’s post on the grounds of seniority, the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) on Monday ruled that the government was justified in superseding the officer and appointing Admiral Karambir Singh to the top position.
AFT said while Verma had not been able to make out a case of mala fide or bias against him,
the government was able to prove that he had been superseded because of justifiable reasons.
The tribunal said it found that the primary reason for Verma’s supersession was that he had been given a letter of severe displeasure (LoSD) after being found guilty of a serious supervisory lapse in 2005 involving the security of the navy’s War Room. It said the incident was serious enough to have resulted in the dismissal from service of some of his subordinate officers.
“It is a testimony to the fairness of the respondents that, rather than debar the applicant (Verma) from all promotions thereafter, after serving him LoSD, they were able to take a nuanced and fair approach by continuing to promote the applicant to senior ranks and appoint him to important assignments despite negative remarks in his ACRs,” AFT said.
The tribunal said the government had proved that Verma, who is the commander-in-chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command in Port Blair, was given a fair hearing.
In March, the government announced that Singh would take over as the next navy chief when Admiral Sunil Lanba retires on May 31, superseding Verma, who would have been the senior-most naval officer on that date.
AFT said the government found Verma to be unfit for selection to the top post despite being the senior-most officer and it appointed the next senior-most officer who was found suitable for the job.
“We hope and trust that our decision in this matter would set at rest any apprehension of mala fide or bias against him (Verma) and favour towards the fourth respondent (Singh) that the applicant might have harboured when he approached this Tribunal,” the Armed Forces Tribunal said in its order.
First Published: Sep 17, 2019 04:20 IST