The Armed Forces Tribunal has quashed a challenge to the appointment of Admiral Karambir Singh as Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) earlier this year.
The complainant, Vice-Admiral Bimal Verma, had stated that as the seniormost officer he should have been appointed Navy chief and claimed that extraneous considerations had led to Admiral Singh s appointment.
Admiral Singh is six months junior to Vice-Admiral Verma, and was second seniormost officer when he was chosen to become the CNS after Admiral Sunil Lanba retired on May 31.
Affirming Admiral Singh s appointment, the Tribunal, which is the equivalent of a high court, said that seniority cannot be the only criterion. It also stated that the reasons for Admiral Singh s elevation were neither irrelevant nor extraneous .
It said that though seniority within the panel of VCNS (Vice Chief of Naval Staff) & C-inCs (Commanders-in-Chief) should be, and remains, the primary consideration for selection of the CNS, but it cannot be the sole consideration for selection for this most important and crucial appointment at the helm of affairs of the Indian Navy . The government had told the Tribunal that seniority cannot be the only basis for selection of the CNS.