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Armed Forces Tribunal Established in Kochi

Kochi, Dec 6, 2009 With the establishment of an Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) bench here today, the total number of benches in the country has become seven. Speaking after inaugurating the bench, AFT Chairman Justice A K Mathur said the bench here would hear cases from Kerala, Karnataka and Lakshadweep Islands. The Guwahati and Mumbai benches would be established soon, he said. Kerala High Court Chief Justice S R Bannurmath said 134 cases would be transferred to the Tribunal. The AFT, which came into existence under Armed Forces Tribunal Act 2007, has been given original and appellate jurisdiction. It could hear and decide grievances of service matters of remuneration, retirement benefits, tenure, appointments, seniority, promotion among others, a defence press release said. Pending matters would be transferred from respective high courts to the tribunal, it said. It will have the power to grant bail to persons placed in military custody.

Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal inaugurated

Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur inaugurated the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal at a function held at Maneckshaw Auditorium in Chandimandir Cantonment near here on Saturday, 14 Nov 2009.The function was presided over by Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur, Chairperson of the Armed Forces Tribunal and former Judge of the Supreme court of India, and attended by senior civil and police officers and a large number of serving and retired personnel of the armed forces.

To fulfil the longstanding need of dispensing speedy justice to the armed forces personnel, Parliament passed the Bill to establish the Armed Forces Tribunal in July 2007. The AFT Act, 2007, came into effect on June 15, 2008, and the tribunal was inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil in August this year. The Tribunal has 15 courts, three each at the Principal Bench in Delhi, regional benches in Chandigarh and Lucknow and one each in Jaipur, Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata and Guwahati.

Present members of the Chandigarh Bench include Justice Ghanshyam Prasad , former Judge of the Patna High Court, Lt-Gen A.S. Bahia, former Director-General Military Operations and Quarter Master General, Lt-Gen H. S. Panag, Former GOC-in-C of Northern and Central Commands, and Lt-Gen N. S. Brar, former Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff. Two more retired High Court judges will be appointed in due course and its geographic jurisdiction will extend to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

Tribunal for cases of armed forces gets on with shooting practice

The Armed Forces Tribunal takes up its first case; declines to stay the proceedings of an Army Promotion Board for senior officers on the plea of a major general. The Indian soldiers will now get justice delivered their own way fast and pointed.

The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), a special tribunal to clear 10,000 cases related to the three Services that are pending in various High Courts across the country, took up its first case in which it declined to stay the proceedings of an Army Promotion Board for senior officers on the plea of a Major General.

Filing a writ petition before the Tribunal on Tuesday, Major General S P Sinha had sought to either stay the proceedings of the Special Selection Board for promotion of officers from Maj Gen to Lieutenant Gen or exclude his Annual Confidential Report (ACR) from being reviewed by the Board till the time discrepancies in it were cleared by the Army.

In his two complaints filed earlier in the Delhi High Court, Maj Gen Sinha had stated there were discrepancies in the gradings given to him in his present and previous ACRs. "Maj Gen Sinha said the Army should be asked to reserve a vacancy in the rank of Lt Gen till the time his complaint of discrepancy in ACR was sorted out by the Army, which was opposed by us," Army's Counsel Jyoti Singh said. During the hearing of the case before the Bench of Justice S S Kulshrestha and Lt Gen S S Dhillon (retd), Singh argued that the Army has provision of organising a Special Review Board for such officers and there was no need to stay the Board or reserve any vacancy in the rank of Lt Gen.

After hearing the submission from both sides, the court decided not to stay the Promotion Board and has given 10 days to the Army to dispose off Maj Gen Sinha's statutory complaint and come back on August 24 to update the court on the progress made in the issue. Maj Gen Sinha, an Ordnance Corps officer, had first filed the petition in the Delhi High Court, which transferred it to the AFT.

Over 10,000 cases related to the three Services are pending in various High Courts across the country and most of them are expected to be transferred to the Tribunal, which is headed by Justice A K Mathur.The Tribunal will also act as the appellate forum for the Armed Forces personnel against verdicts of court-martial, thus meeting a major demand of the tri-services.

The Principal bench of the AFT is located in Delhi and has three courts in it. The tribunal was inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil on Saturday. For Speedy Justice
President Pratibha Patil on August 8 inaugurated the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), an exclusive court for nearly 2.5 million serving and retired defence personnel.

Over 10,000 cases related to the servicemen are pending in various High Courts across the country and most of them are expected to be transferred to the AFT, which is headed by Justice A K Mathur.The Principal bench of the AFT is located in Delhi and is has three courts in it. The Tribunal will also act as the appellate forum for the Armed Forces personnel against verdicts of court-martial

Armed Forces Tribunal Inaugurated By President Pratibha Patil

The Armed Forces Tribunal, an exclusive court for nearly 2.5 million serving and retired defence personnel, was inaugurated by Indian President, Prathibha Patil, on Saturday (08 Aug 09). The tribunal will deal with nearly 9,000 military cases pending in various courts across the country.

"The establishment of the Armed Forces Tribunal, an exclusive court for the members of the army, navy and the air force will enhance their confidence and trust levels in the system of dispensation of justice in relation to their service matters. Hence, it marks an important milestone in the history of the armed forces in India," Patil said at the inaugural function.

The tribunal will start functioning as soon as the government issues the notification in this regard. Set up by an act of parliament in December 2007, the principal bench of the tribunal will be in New Delhi with eight regional benches across India.

There will be a total of 15 courts - three each in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow and one each in Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Kochi. "When a new institution is set up to meet a specific demand or to fill a lacuna, the expectations from it are usually high. However, a new body has an advantage as while framing rules, regulations and working methodologies, it can do so in a way that will fulfil its mandate in the most effective manner," Patil said.

"Consisting of both judicial and administrative members, it is in a position to dispense justice by combining legal knowledge with a complete input of the ground realities in which the Armed Forces operate," she said.

31 posts for the Armed Forces Tribunal approved

PAVING THE way for the creation of the proposed independent adjudicating forum for dispensing cost effective and speedy justice to the armed forces personnel, the Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its approval for the creation of 31 posts for the Armed Forces Tribunal. The posts include one of chairperson and 29 posts of members for the principal bench at New Delhi and eight regional branches. It also includes one post of principal registrar at the principal bench. The process for the setting up of the Armed Forces Tribunal gathered momentum after Defence Minister AK Antony assumed charge in October 2006.

The principal bench at New Delhi will have three courts and will have jurisdiction over High Courts in the state of Delhi. Similarly, the Chandigarh and Lucknow benches will have three courts each. The Chandigarh bench will have jurisdiction over Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Himachal Pradesh. The Lucknow bench will have jurisdiction over Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh. The other locations for the benches with one court each will be Kolkata, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai and Jaipur. The Kolkata bench will have jurisdiction over West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Guwahati bench will have jurisdiction over Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. The Mumbai bench will have jurisdiction over Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat. While Kochi bench will have jurisdiction over Kerala and Karnataka, Chennai bench will look after Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The Jaipur bench will have jurisdiction over Rajasthan.

The setting up of the Armed Forces Tribunal will fulfill a long-felt need of the country’s three defence services. Over 9,800 cases filed by service personnel are pending before various High Courts. The maximum number of cases numbering 2,487 will be transferred to the Chandigarh bench while 2,407 will be adjudicated by the Lucknow bench. Two thousand three hundred and six (2,306) cases are proposed to be transferred to the Delhi principal bench.

The Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007, which was passed by the Parliament during the Winter Session of 2007 received the assent of the President on 25th December, 2007. The Act was notified on 28th December, 2007. It provides for adjudication or trial by the tribunal of disputes and complaints with respect to commission, appointments, enrolment and conditions of service in respect of persons subject to Three Services Acts as also for appeals arising out of orders, findings or sentences of court martial held under the said Acts and for matters connected with them. The Act came into force with effect from 15th June, 2008. The Tribunal will have original jurisdiction in service matters and appellate jurisdiction in court martial matters. The chairman of the Tribunal will be a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court. The Tribunal will consist of one Chairperson, 14 judicial and 15 administrative members. The administrative members shall be officer of the rank of Major General or above in the Army or equivalent rank in the Navy or the Air Force with three years of service in that rank. Judge Advocate General (JAG) of three Services with at least one year of service as JAG shall also be eligible. The judicial member should be serving or retired judge of the High Court. All appointments to the Tribunal will be made in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. The Tribunal shall have powers to punish for its contempt.

 

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