The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea for stopping dismantling of decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat and its restoration as a museum.

"The petitioner had come late to the Supreme Court. 40% of the ship had already been dismantled. We will not interfere with the dismantling," the top court said.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde and comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian told the counsel representing private firm Envitech Marine Consultants Pvt Ltd, "You are too late, 40% of the ship is already dismantled, how will you make it a museum."

The firm's counsel argued that it can seek the services of a reputed firm and conduct a survey and get to the top court in the matter.

The Bench took note of the fact that the Ministry of Defence has refused to accept the representation of private firm Envitech Marine that the decommissioned aircraft carrier be preserved.

The centaur-class aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, was in service with the Indian Navy for 29 years before being decommissioned in March 2017. 'Viraat' had reached the Alang ship breaking yard in Gujarat from Mumbai in September last year and the dismantling process was going on.

The Centre had in July 2019 informed the Parliament that the decision to scrap Viraat was taken after due consultation with the Indian Navy.

The top court had also sought a response from the Centre and others on the plea filed by Envitech Marine Consultants Private Limited. The private firm seeks to preserve the ship and make it into a museum, and moved the top court seeking direction to stop it from being dismantled. In July 2019, the Centre had informed Parliament that the decision to dismantle INS Viraat was taken after due consultation with the Indian Navy.

Viraat is the second aircraft carrier which is being dismantled in India. In 2014, Vikrant was dismantled in Mumbai.