The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday allowed the Indian Navy to move out the decommissioned INS Vikrant – country’s first aircraft carrier – from Mumbai naval dockyard to Darukhana ship breaking yard.
The apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice A.K. Sikri allowed shifting of the 70-year-old aircraft carrier after the government told the court that Vikrant was in a condition of extreme obsolescence and deterioration and could no longer be repaired or refurbished.
The government plea to relocate INS Vikrant was opposed by activist Kiran Paigankar, who questioned the safety of the ship in its new berthing place. He said the naval dockyard was the safest place.
Paigankar moved the apex court seeking conversion of INS Vikrant into a museum and the court, issuing notice on his plea May 5, had ordered status quo.
The government came for the vacation of the status quo order saying that it only wanted to relocate INS Vikrant and not dismantle it.
The government said: “Since its (Vikrant) hull is over 70-year-old and due to extreme obsolescence and deterioration, the INS Vikrant can no longer be repaired or refurbished.”
The IB Commercial Pvt. Ltd. which bought the INS Vikrant in an auction in January 2014 will move Vikrant to the Darukhanna ship breaking yard Friday itself.
The keel of the country’s first aircraft carrier, earlier known as HMS Hercules in the British Royal Navy, was laid Oct 14, 1943 and it was launched in 1945.
It was bought by India in 1957 and was commissioned in the navy Feb 16, 1959. Vikrant was decommissioned Jan 31, 1997.