New Delhi: Indian Navy Vice Admiral Bimal Verma has moved the Armed Forces Tribunal against his name being dropped for the post of the Navy chief and replaced by that of Vice Admiral Karambir Singh.

Verma, who heads the Andaman and Nicobar Command, claimed in his petition that he would have become the Navy chief on the rule of seniority. However, the Modi government on March 23 appointed Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as the new Navy chief.

While Singh was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1980, Verma was commissioned into the Navy in 1979. Verma is the brother of Admiral Nirmal Verma, who was the chief of naval staff between 2009-12.

This is the second occasion when the Modi government has not appointed senior-most officers as service chiefs. Earlier, the government had overlooked seniority even in the case of the appointment of Army chief General Bipin Rawat, who had superseded two officers.

The Indian Navy had announced in March that Vice Admiral Singh will be its next chief. “The government of India appoints Vice Admiral Karambir Singh, Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) as the next chief of the naval staff. To assume charge on superannuation of Admiral Sunil Lanba on May 31,” the ministry of defence spokesperson said on March 23.

Singh will be the first helicopter pilot of the Indian Navy to hold the office of the chief of naval staff. Vice Admiral Singh was commissioned in July 1980 into the executive branch of the Indian Navy. He has served as the vice chief of naval staff at the Navy headquarters in New Delhi before moving to Visakhapatnam in 2018 as the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of the Eastern Naval Command.