Cabinet push for activating Armed Forces Tribunal

July 24th, 2008 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The Indian government Thursday moved to activate the Armed Forces Tribunal by approving the creation of 31 posts for the body which will hear appeals against the judgements of military courts. “This will pave the way for the creation of an independent adjudicating forum for dispensing cost effective and speedy justice to armed forces personnel,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters after a cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The posts include one of chairperson, 29 posts of members for the principal bench at New Delhi and eight regional benches, and one post of principal registrar at the principal bench, the minister said.

Once the tribunal is activated, the over 9,800 cases pending in various high courts will be transferred to the body.

The process of setting up the tribunal had gathered momentum after Defence Minister A.K. Antony assumed office in October 2006.

The principal bench will have three courts and will have jurisdiction over appeals filed in the Delhi High Court.

The Chandigarh and Lucknow benches will also have three courts each. The Chandigarh bench will have jurisdiction over Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The Lucknow Bench will have jurisdiction over Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

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 the Andaman & 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.

The Kochi bench will have jurisdiction over Kerala and Karnataka, the Chennai bench will look after Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and the Jaipur bench will have jurisdiction over Rajasthan.

“The setting up of the Armed Forces Tribunal will fulfil a long-felt need of the country’s three defence services,” an official said.

Of the appeals pending in different high courts, the maximum number - 2,487 - will be transferred to the Chandigarh bench, while the Lucknow bench will adjudicate 2,407 cases.

The principal bench here will adjudicate 2,306 cases.

The tribunal’s chairperson will be a retired Supreme Court judge or a retired high court chief justice. Retired high court judges will head the regional benches.

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