SC relief against govt decision to scrap INS Vikrant

Discussion in 'Military History' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, May 5, 2014.



    Sep 22, 2012
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    Detroit MI

    MUMBAI: The Supreme Court on Monday granted a status quo on India's first warship INS Vikrant, which was to be converted into scrap.

    Vikrant successfully served the nation in couple of international wars. Recently in January, the Bombay high court gave the go-ahead for its auction after it rejected a public interest litigation filed by activist Kiran Paigankar to save the ship from being scrapped and to convert it into a maritime museum.

    In March, the Indian Navy sold it to the highest bidder, a Mumbai-based Ship breaking company called I B Commercial for Rs 63 crore, way over its reserve bid of Rs 3 crore. The plan, in the deal, is to pull it down part-by-part and sell it as lucrative scrap.

    May 20 would have been the ship's last day at berth off Mumbai coast.

    Paigankar pursued the matter in the SC where he challenged the HC order. On Monday, a bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Vikranjit Sen took up the matter for hearing at 12.15pm and after hearing Paigankar's lawyers, issued notice to the ministry of defence and all other respondents.

    The SC said a status quo be maintained on the aircraft career, which was built in England well before the end of World War II.

    The iconic aircraft carrier served England before the Indian Navy bought it in 1957. Four decades later, the ship was decommissioned in 1997 and about a decade later, it was turned into a maritime museum, berthed in Mumbai harbour. Advocate Shekhar Jatap, counsel for Paigankar, said the ship ought to be preserved as a national monument and the SC said it would hear the matter at length.

    The winning bidders were otherwise expected to move the ship out of the Mumbai harbour within a month as the deal warrants.

    The Centre and the Navy had been saying that the museum project had run out of steam financially. It was not feasible they said in the HC too as more money was being spent on repairs than any earned. The HC in January had dismissed the PIL to preserve the ship as a maritime museum.

    The defence ministry had been insisting in the HC that the sale is important to prevent any disaster and was in the nation's interest. The hull is over 70 years old and is very weak, unsafe for even cadets to cross.

    The HC bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha accepted defence ministry's stand that the foremost aircraft carrier is 'completely unsafe' and unfit for preservation as museum. The Centre said that it was not feasible to retain the ship as a permanent museum and the decision taken last year to scrap it was based on government policy.

    SC relief against govt decision to scrap INS Vikrant - The Times of India

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