Monday, May 16, 2016

Indian Supreme Court justice speaks at 50th anniversary of military law institute

Some interesting remarks were made this week at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Indian Army's Institute of Military Law, according to The Times of India. Excerpt: 
Supreme Court judge Arjan Kumar Sikri called for exploring options of compensating personnel found guilty during court mar[ti]al, instead of taking them back to the service after winning legal battles. Speaking during the silver jubilee celebrations of Institute of Military Law , Kamptee, on Monday, the judge said it was a must to maintain the tradition of strict discipline in armed forces. 
Justifying his suggestion, he stated that such options were available in the civil disputes under Industrial Dispute Act where private companies explore such options by paying increased compensation or one-time payment. 
"In the era of globalization, if a company doesn't want a particular employee, they resort to such tactics. Even in armed forces, such options should be explored. When army personnel, who were pronounced guilty during court mar[ti]al, returned to their positions after winning legal battle either in Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) or Supreme Court, they motivate others to indulge in indiscipline and bring bad name to the organization," he said.
Indian readers may wish to comment on this suggestion, but from a distance it seems an odd one. Surely there are higher policy priorities than being able to get rid of personnel who succeed in having their court-martial convictions overturned. The notion that allowing such personnel to return to duty would incentivize others to commit offenses is fundamentally at odds with the rule of law, and surprising coming from a judge of the country's highest court.

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