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'Too Late To Approach Court' : Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Against Dismantling Of 'INS Viraat'

Radhika Roy
12 April 2021 9:00 AM GMT
Too Late To Approach Court : Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Against Dismantling Of INS Viraat
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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the SLP filed by a private firm seeking for the staying of the dismantling of decommissioned Indian Navy aircraft carrier 'INS Viraat' and handing it over to them for conversion into a maritime museum.A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde informed Rupali Sharma, the representative of the petitioner-company M/s Envitech Marine...

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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the SLP filed by a private firm seeking for the staying of the dismantling of decommissioned Indian Navy aircraft carrier 'INS Viraat' and handing it over to them for conversion into a maritime museum.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde informed Rupali Sharma, the representative of the petitioner-company M/s Envitech Marine Consultants Private Limited,that she had approached the Court too late and that as the Ministry of Defence had already refused the request of the firm, the Court could not interfere in the matter.

The CJI informed the Petitioner, "We are with you as far as the spirit of nationalism is concerned, but you are already too late in this case. 40% of the ship has been dismantled. We cannot interfere now. Government has already taken a decision".

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing on behalf of Shree Ram Group of Industries who have purchased the ship in an open purchase agreement, submitted to the Court that the Bombay High Court had granted liberty to the Petitioner to approach the Ministry of Defence to get their permission. However, the Ministry of Defence had refused the same.

"I am pointing this out because it connects with the High Court judgment. The only relief that was given was to go to the Ministry of Defence. They have refused. The matter should end right there", submitted Dhavan.

The CJI then stated to the Petitioner, "You have come too late. You have not even challenged the order. What is this? High Court has already given you a relief and that has been rejected. You cannot do this." Accordingly, the plea was dismissed.

On February 10, the Top Court had stayed the dismantling of decommissioned Indian Navy aircraft carrier 'INS Viraat' while issuing notice on a petition filed by a private company, who offered to preserve the iconic ship in national interest.

The Court was considering a petition filed by M/s Envitech Marine Consultants Private Limited, which was interested in buying the ship from its present owner to convert it into a maritime museum.The ship was sold to Shree Ram Ship Breakers in an auction last year. It is now beached at Alang in Gujarat where it is being dismantled.

The owner of the Company had previously submitted to the Bench that they were willing to offer 100 crore rupees for the ship which was auctioned off for nearly Rs. 65 crores. The Bench had sought the responses of the Ministry of Defence and the present owner of the ship.

Envitech Marine Consultants had earlier approached the Bombay High Court with the prayer. On November 3 last year, a Division Bench comprising Justices Nitin Jamdar and Milind Jadhav directed the Ministry of Defence to take a decision on the representation made by the company for NOC to acquire the ship.

On November 27, the Ministry rejected the request for NOC. The 65-year old aircraft carrier INS Viraat was inducted into the Indian Navy in 1987, after being acquired from UK, and decommissioned in 2017.

CASE: Envitech Marine Consultants Private Limited Vs. Union Of India 
CITATION: LL 2021 SC 214

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