Friday, June 19, 2009

Armed Forces Tribunal to start functioning next month

Armed Forces Tribunal to start functioning next month




After a series of delays, the much-awaited
Armed Forces Tribunal is finally expected to
start functioning next month. The AFT will
adjudicate on matters pertaining to military
justice and service matters, which at present
are being dealt by the high courts and the SC.
Sources said the appointment of 15 administrative
members, selected from among senior
retired service officers, is over, though the
appointment ofjudicial members, to be selected
from retired high court judges, is underway.
About 12,000 cases related to courts
martial proceedings, and matters such as promotions,
postings, pay and allowances, etc.,
which are pending before various courts, will
be transferred to the AFT. Since the AFT will
be dealing with military matters alone, it will
ensure speedier disposal of cases.

For the Chandigarh Bench, the administrative
members are Lt Gen HS Panag, former
GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt Gen AS
Bahia, former Quarter Master General and Lt
Gen NS Brar, former GOC 10 Corps. This
Bench will have jurisdiction over the states of
Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and
Jammu and Kashmir.

Among other members are Lt Gen S
Pattabhiraman, Lt Gen ML Naidu, both former
Vice-Chief of the Anny Staff, Lt Gen
Thomas Mathew, former Adjutant General, Lt
Gen RK Chhabra, former Chief of Staff,
Southern Command and Rear Admiral R
Contractor. The Parliament had passed the
Armed Forces Tribunal Bill on December 7,
2007, following which presidential assent was
received on December 27. Former Supreme
Court judge, Justice AK Mathur, is heading
the tribunal.

The AFT's principal Bench would be based
at New Delhi and premises for it have been
earmarked in RK Puram.

In addition will be eight regional Benches,
Chandigarh, Chennai,Guwahati, Jaipur, Kochi,
Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai. Each Bench will
have judicial and well as administrative members.

All administrative members will have the status
of a judge of the high court with corresponding
salary and service conditions.

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