Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, moved court on Monday over his supersession by the government when it appointed Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as the next Chief of the Naval Staff.

In his petition before an armed forces tribunal, Vice Admiral Verma sought to know why he was overlooked despite being the senior-most in the line of command.

In March, the government named Vice Admiral Karambir Singh, the FOC-in-C of Eastern Naval Command, as the successor of Admiral Sunil Lanba, who retires on 30 May.

In his petition, Vice Admiral Verma challenged the government’s decision to appoint Singh, an officer junior to him, as the Chief of Naval Staff.

While Vice Admiral Verma was commissioned into the Navy in 1979, Vice Admiral Singh – a helicopter pilot – was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1980.

Vice Admiral Verma is the brother of Admiral Nirmal Verma, the Chief of Naval Staff from 2009 to 2012. Reports say his petition is likely to be taken up Tuesday.

Vice Admiral Verma was not the only contender for the post of Naval chief. Others included Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, FOC-in-C of Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar and FOC-in-C of Southern Naval Command Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla.

This was the second time in the last five years that the government overlook seniority in favour of merit.

The appointment of General Bipin Rawat as the Chief of Army Staff in 2016 was the first such instance under the NDA government. The government overlooked two senior Army officers, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Lt Gen PM Hariz, when appointing Gen Rawat as the CAS.