An Act to provide for the adjudication or trial by Armed Forces Tribunal of disputes and complaints with respect to commission, appointments, enrolment and conditions of service in respect of persons subject to the Army Act, 1950, the Navy Act, 1957 and the Air Force Act, 1950 and also to provide for appeals arising out of orders, findings or sentences of court martial held under the said Acts and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
be it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-eighth Year of the Republic of India as follows:--
Section 1. Short title and Commencement
(1) This Act may be called the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.
(2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification, appoint.
Section 2. Applicability of the Act
(1) The provisions of this Act shall apply to all persons subject to the Army Act, 1950(46 of 1950), the Navy Act, 1957(62 of 1957) and the Air Force Act, 1950(45 of 1950).
(2) This Act shall also apply to retired personnel subject to the Army Act, 1950(46 of 1950) or the Navy Act, 1957(62 of 1957) or the Air Force Act, 1950(45 of 1950), including their dependants, heirs and successors, in so far as it relates to their service matters.
Section 3. Definitions
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--
(a) "Administrative Member" means a member of the Tribunal who is not a Judicial Member within the meaning of clause (g);
(b) "application" means an application made under sub-section (2) of section 14;
(c) "appointed day" means the date with effect from which the Tribunal is established by notification under section 4;
(d) "Bench" means a Bench of the Tribunal;
(e) "Chairperson" means the Chairperson of the Tribunal;
(f) "court martial" means a court martial held under the Army Act, 1950(46 of 1950) or the Navy Act, 1957(62 of 1957) including the disciplinary courts constituted under the Act or the Air Force Act, 1950(45 of 1950);
(g) "Judicial Member" means a member of the Tribunal appointed as such under this Act, and includes the Chairperson, who possesses any of the qualifications specified in sub-section (2) of section 6;
(h) "Member" means a member (whether Judicial or Administrative) of the Tribunal and includes the Chairperson;
(i) "military custody" means the arrest or confinement of a person according to the usages of the service and includes naval or air force custody;
(j) "notification" means a notification published in the Official Gazette;
(k) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(l) "President" means the President of India;
(m) "rules" means the rules made under this Act;
(n) "service" means the service within or outside India;
(o) "service matters", in relation to the persons subject to the Army Act, 1950, the Navy Act, 1957 and the Air Force Act, 1950, mean all matters relating to the conditions of their service and shall include--
(i) remuneration (including allowances), pension and other retirement benefits;
(ii) tenure, including commission, appointment, enrolment, probation, confirmation, seniority, training, promotion, reversion, premature retirement, superannuation, termination of service and penal deductions;
(iii) summary disposal and trials where the punishment of dismissal is awarded;
(iv) any other matter, whatsoever,
but shall not include matters relating to--
(i) orders issued under section 18 of the Army Act, 1950(46 of 1950), sub-section (1) of section 15 of the Navy Act, 1957(62 of 1957) and section 18 of the Air Force Act, 1950(45 of 1950); and
(ii) transfers and postings including the change of place or unit on posting whether individually or as a part of unit, formation or ship in relation to the persons subject to the Army Act, 1950(46 of 1950), the Navy Act, 1957(62 of 1957) and the Air Force Act, 1950(45 of 1950);
(iii) leave of any kind;
(iv) summary court martial except where the punishment is of dismissal or imprisonment for more than three months;
(p) "summary disposals and trials" means summary disposals and trials held under the Army Act, 1950(46 of 1950), the Navy Act, 1957(62 of 1957) and the Air Force Act, 1950(45 of 1950);
(q) "Tribunal" means the Armed Forces Tribunal established under section 4.
Section 4. Establishment of Armed Forces Tribunal
The Central Government shall, by notification, establish a Tribunal to be known as the Armed Forces Tribunal to exercise the jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on it by or under this Act.
Section 5. Composition of Tribunal and Benches thereof
(1) The Tribunal shall consist of a Chairperson, and such number of Judicial and Administrative Members as the Central Government may deem fit and, subject to the other provisions of this Act, the jurisdiction, powers and authority of the Tribunal may be exercised by Benches thereof.
(2) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, a Bench shall consist of one Judicial Member and one Administrative Member.
(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the Chairperson--
(a) may, in addition to discharging the functions of a Judicial Member of the Bench to which he is appointed, discharge the functions of an Administrative Member of any other Bench;
(b) may transfer a Member from one Bench to another Bench;
(c) may, for the purpose of securing that any case or cases, which having regard to the nature of the questions involved, requires or require, in his opinion, or under the rules made under this Act, to be decided by a Bench composed of more than two members, issue such general or special orders, as he may deem fit:
Provided that every Bench constituted in pursuance of this clause shall include at least one Judicial Member and one Administrative Member.
(4) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the Benches of the Tribunal shall ordinarily sit at Delhi (which shall be known as the Principal Bench), and at such other places as the Central Government may, by notification, specify.
Section 6. Qualification for appointment of Chairperson and other Members
(1) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as the Chairperson unless he is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court.
(2) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judicial Member unless he is or has been a Judge of a High Court.
(3) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as an Administrative Member unless--
(a) he has held or has been holding the rank of Major General or above for a total period of at least three years in the Army or equivalent rank in the Navy or the Air Force; and
(b) he has served for not less than one year as Judge Advocate General in the Army or the Navy or the Air Force, and is not below the rank of Major General, Commodore and Air Commodore respectively.
Explanation.--When a serving person is appointed as an Administrative Member, he shall have retired from service prior to assuming such appointment.
Section 7. Appointment of Chairperson and other Members
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the Chairperson and other Members of the Tribunal shall be appointed by the President:
Provided that no appointment under this sub-section shall be made except after consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
(2) The President may appoint one or more Members of the Tribunal to be the Vice-Chairperson, or, as the case may be, the Vice-Chairpersons, thereof.
Section 8. Term of office
The Chairperson or a Member shall hold office for a term of four years from the date on which he enters upon his office and shall be eligible for re-appointment:
Provided that no Chairperson shall hold office as such after he has attained,--
(a) in case he has been a Judge of the Supreme Court, the age of seventy years; and
(b) in case he has been the Chief Justice of a High Court, the age of sixty-five years:
Provided further that no other Member shall hold office as such Member after he has attained the age of sixty-five years.
Section 9. Resignation and removal
(1) The Chairperson or a Member may, by notice in writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office:
Provided that the Chairperson or a Member shall, unless he is permitted by the President to relinquish his office sooner, continue to hold office until the expiry of three months from the date of receipt of such notice or until a person duly appointed as his successor enters upon his office or until the expiry of his term of office, whichever is the earliest,
(2) The Chairperson or a Member shall not be removed from his office except by an order made by the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after an inquiry made by a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court in which such Chairperson or other Member had been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.
(3) The Central Government may, by rules, regulate the procedure for the investigation of misbehaviour or incapacity of the Chairperson or other Member referred to in sub-section (2).
Section 10. Salaries allowances and other terms and conditions of service of Chairperson and other Members
The salaries and allowances payable to, and the other terms and conditions of service (including pension, gratuity and other retirement benefits) of, the Chairperson and other Members shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government:
Provided that neither the salary and allowances nor the other terms and conditions of service of the Chairperson and other Members shall be varied to their disadvantage after their appointment.
Section 11. Prohibitions as to holding of offices, etc., by Chairperson of Member on ceasing to be such Chairperson or Member
(a) the Chairperson shall be ineligible for further employment either under the Government of India or under the Government of a State;
(b) a Member other than the Chairperson shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be eligible for appointment as a member of any other Tribunal but not for any other employment either under the Government of India or under the Government of a State; and
(c) the Chairperson or other Members shall not appear, act or plead before the Tribunal.
Section 12. Financial and administrative powers of Chairperson
The Chairperson shall exercise such financial and administrative powers over the Benches as may be prescribed:
Provided that the Chairperson shall have the authority to delegate such of his financial and administrative powers as he may think fit to any other Member or any officer of the Tribunal, subject to the conditions that such Member or officer shall, while exercising such delegated powers, continue to act under the direction, control and supervision of the Chairperson.