Maj Navdeep Singh
Chandigarh based noted lawyer Navdeep Singh places a perspective on the recently constituted Armed Forces Tribunal and traces the evolution of the practice of military law for the armed forces personnel.
It would not exactly be appropriate to say that the three military Acts are without enough checks to avoid miscarriage of justice. There are ample provisions parallel to those available under the criminal system of jurisprudence but the problem remains that unlike the criminal courts, court martials are presided over not by judicial officers but by officers of the regular army who neither have the acumen nor the bent towards legal and judicial modalities. Moreover, all procedures finally leading to conviction by a court martial (such as Courts of Inquiry, Summary of Evidence etc) are handled by military personnel who may just follow provisions of military Acts and Rules in formal letter but not in spirit - and this makes all the difference. And this also brings us to the answer why a body of professionals such as the AFT is so very urgently required to sit in judgement and appeal over justice rendered to men and women in uniform by another set of men and women in uniform.
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