Legal Battle Over Decommissioned Warship INS Viraat

Delve into a complex legal battle surrounding the decommissioned warship INS Viraat, where the High Court’s legal analysis takes center stage. The court’s decisions and nuanced perspectives shape the course of events in this gripping case.


  • The ship was permanently beached on 30.9.2020, and the petitioners sought help from the second respondent.
  • High Court clarified they did not comment on the petitioners’ claim but directed the Union of India to decide on the representation.
  • Second respondent was willing to agree to the petitioners’ proposal with conditions, but the petitioners could not meet them.
  • A letter of acceptance was issued by MSTC Limited to the second respondent on 13.08.2020.
  • Second respondent advised the petitioners to obtain a NOC from the Government of India to convert the ship into a Museum.
  • Public auction in December 2019 was cancelled as the highest bid was not enough.
  • Notice was ordered on the special leave petitions, and an interim order to maintain status quo was granted.
  • Second respondent later requested urgent hearing and to vacate the status quo order.
  • Petitioner No.3 sought advice on converting the warship into a Maritime Museum cum adventure centre.
  • Second respondent made a payment of about Rs. 54 crores and was issued a delivery order.
  • Parliament informed that INS Viraat would be scrapped as the Indian Navy had decided.
  • Petitioners sought to preserve INS Viraat as a memorial through public-private partnership.
  • Second respondent agreed to proposal subject to conditions, which the petitioners could not fulfill.
  • Writ petition was filed in the High Court of Bombay, but Ministry of Defence rejected the petitioners’ representation.
  • Ministry of Defence’s decision has not been challenged by the petitioners.
  • Second respondent claimed to have started dismantling work, with 35 to 40% already completed according to surveyors.
  • Vessel suffered severe hull damage, and essential items were removed, rendering it a ‘dead structure’.
  • Special Leave Petitions were dismissed by the Court due to inability to act at this stage.
  • Sale of the vessel through public auction was arranged due to inability to find a State Government willing to take financial liability.

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Case Number: SLP(C) No.-000288-000289 / 2021

Click here to read/download original judgement

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