Friday, July 16, 2021

A modest proposal for India

Global Military Justice Reform contributor Major Navdeep Singh and the Editor have written this op-ed for The Print. Hasn't the time come to enact a single disciplinary statute for all of India's armed forces -- and to make other basic changes needed to achieve judicial independence?

1 comment:

  1. Nice Article. I hope it will wake up those who are sleeping on the proposal to formulate a common code for the armed forces in India.

    The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, which examined the Armed Forces Tribunal Bill, 2005 had recommend in its 10th Report (2006) that an expert committee be constituted to thoroughly review the three service Acts and make recommendations to bring them in tune with the norms being followed in other democratic countries. The Committee desired that review of the Acts be taken up urgently so that the revised common Act is in place before the establishment of the Tribunal. This was not done.

    In December 2009, I had taken up a case with the Rajya Sabha (the Council of States) and sent a detailed proposal for modernization and unification of the Indian military law. I was informed that the proposal has been forwarded to the three wings of the armed forces for consideration. Later a committee consisting of the officers from the Judge Advocate General branches of the three services was formed to draft a common code. This happened about 7-8 years back. There is no fresh input on the issue.

    In reality, the officers constituting such committee remain ill-informed about the progressive development of military law around the world, besides they are untrained in legislation drafting. They are least interested as it is an additional task imposed upon them. In fact, the three service chiefs themselves have no fervour in adopting a common code or even modernizing the existing military legal system. In case the Government desires to make a uniform code for the armed forces, it has to appoint a committee headed by a Parliamentarian, with time bound task.

    U. C. Jha
    Wg Cdr (Retd)


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