SC refuses to lift stay on disposal of INS Vikrant

SC refuses to lift stay on disposal of INS Vikrant

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to lift the stay on the move to dismember India’s first aircraft carrier ‘INS Vikrant’, brushing aside the Centre’s plea that it had incurred Rs 22 crore in its dry docking and continued to spend Rs 5 crore annually for its maintenance.

A bench of justices B S Chauhan and A K Sikri declined a plea to modify the May 5 order, wherein the apex court had admitted a petition seeking declaration of ‘INS Vikrant’ as archeological site or art treasure and stayed the attempt to turn the United Kingdom-manufactured ship into scrap.

The vacation bench asked the counsel, representing the defence ministry, to let the matter be taken up by the regular bench. In its plea, the government sought direction for early disposal of the ship, claiming 17 years after its decommissioning in 1997, its continuation in the present condition in the naval dockyard in Mumbai was no longer safe.

“There is adequate shortage of berths for new ships that are being inducted in the Navy, in addition to the existing operational vessels…replenishment and arming of other warships and their operational deployment is getting adversely affected,” it said, adding the retention of the 70-year-old ship was affecting national security and operational preparedness.

The President on June 21, 2012 gave his sanction to alter the mode of disposal of ‘INS Vikrant’ from ‘museum’ to ‘scrap’ and the defence ministry issued order for its disposal on June 21, 2013.