Saturday, March 14, 2015

Concerns raised over Supreme Court of India decision on appeals from Armed Forces Tribunal

The recent decision of the Supreme Court of India banning High Court review of decisions of the Armed Forces Tribunal has sparked consternation in that country. As this article points out, the decision is at odds with earlier rulings by Constitution Benches of the apex court. The rub is that the Supreme Court can only review AFT decisions if they involve a "point of law of general public importance." Because most AFT cases, as important as they are to the litigants, do not colorably meet that stringent test, the result of the latest decision is that the only judicial review will be that provided by the AFT, where only one member of any panel will have judicial qualifications.

If litigants before other tribunals can have access to higher review even in the absence of a "point of law of general public importance," it is difficult to see why military personnel and veterans should not as well.

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