President Inaugurates Armed Forces Tribunal

The President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil inaugurated the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) here today. Calling it an important milestone in the history of the Armed Forces, the President, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, hoped that the setting up of the Tribunal will enhance the confidence and trust among the large number of Services personnel in the country’s justice dispensation system in relation to their service matters. It has been a longstanding demand of the men in uniform to have the option for a review of decisions of the Court Martial.

Cautioning that the delay in dispensation of justice defeats the very purpose of delivery of justice, the President asked the Tribunal to be particularly careful in avoiding the build up of backlogs. “There should be predictability in court hearings and adjournments granted only in very exceptional circumstances,” she added.

Set up by an Act of Parliament in December, 2007, the AFT will have its Principal Bench in New Delhi and eight regional benches spread across the country. The Tribunal will have 15 courts in all, - three each in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow and one each in Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Kochi. The Principal bench in New Delhi will be functional from Monday, August 10.

Terming the landmark event as a ‘magna carta’ in Indian military history, the Minister for Law and Justice, Shri M. Veerappa Moily said that the Tribunal would act as an outlet for redressal of grievances of Armed Forces personnel. The Tribunal is an endeavour in “the search for truth and justice” after the convergence of various pillars of democracy, Shri Moily said. He hoped that the Tribunal would not get bogged down in “the juggernaut of bureaucracy.” Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur, who took over as the founder Chairperson of the Tribunal on Sep.1, 2008, said the arrears of pending cases in civilian courts is a matter of concern. He hoped that the Tribunal would reduce burden on the regular courts. At present nearly 10,000 such cases are pending before various courts across the country, most of them with the high courts.

The AFT will provide a judicial forum for redressal of grievances of about a 1.3 million strong armed forces personnel and another 1.2 million Ex-Servicemen. Having powers of a criminal court, the Tribunal can grant bail to men held in military custody and also hear appeals against sentences handed down by the court-martial. The decisions of the AFT can be challenged only in the Supreme Court.

The Tribunal will provide better justice delivery system to the Services personnel, particularly those living in remote and inaccessible areas, the Chief Justice of India Mr. Justice KG Balakrishnan said. Pointing out that the Army, Navy and the Air Force Acts have some archaic and “authoritative” provisions of the colonial legacy, he observed that there was a general perception that sitting officers of the Court Martial are not inclined to impartial and fair justice. The Tribunal’s success parameters would be to ensure fairness, speedy justice and its enforcement, he added.

The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony said that the tribunal fills a void that existed in the military justice dispensation. It would fulfill the observations made by the Supreme Court long back in 1982 and the subsequent recommendations of the Law Commission that “the Services personnel must have atleast one judicial review” of verdicts handed down by the Court Martial.

The Tribunal will have a Chairperson who has been or is a judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of a high court. Besides, each court consists of a judicial member and an administrative member. Justice RV Ravindran, a sitting Supreme Court judge who is the Chairperson of the Selection Committee of the Armed Forces Tribunal, said that the decision making on grievances related to armed forces personnel demands specialized knowledge of Services protocol besides upholding the tenets of natural justice.

Delivering the closing address, the Minister of State for Defence Dr MM Pallam Raju said that this day heralds a new era in the administration of justice for the armed forces personnel.
Source: PIB


Unknown said…
A good long awaited step.
Brig Saranjit S Sahney (V)
sushil kujur said…
I joined GSI office on november-1990,till date I have got two promotion.The last promotion I got in the year-1998 ie 11 years back will I get macps now,if yes/no explain.
Anonymous said…
dear sirs,
ijoined my services in 01/12/1999 as a pharmacist in pay scale 4500-7000 in sixth pay commission fast track commtee upgrade the my pay scale wef 1.01.2006 from 2800 gp to 4200 gp but i complited the 10 yr on 01/12/2009 sir i eligible for MACP in grade pay 4600 please clear my position earliast.
thanks sir

your faithfully

pardeep soni
sr. pharmacist
Anonymous said…
I have joined in April 2000 in Scale Rs. 5000-8000, 150/-. I was promoted to Scale Rs. 5500-9000, 175/- on 1 Sept 2007. But I opted pay fixation w.e.f. 01.01.2006.
Please inform me the method of calculation of by present Basic pay and total salary.

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