THE ARMED FORCES TRIBUNAL ACT, 2007

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The Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 was enacted for the purpose of adjudicating of conducting trial with respect to the arguments and also the complaints by the Armed Forces Tribunal connected to the appointments, stipulations of service, enrolment as well as commission dealing with persons coming under the purview of the Army Act, 1950, Air Force Act, 1950 along with Navy Act, 1957. The Act also aims to initiate appeal by the person aggrieved by the order of the Tribunal or other findings. A person aggrieved shall also prefer appeal to the Tribunal for sentences by Court Martial. The terms described under the enactment are applicable to all persons except to the extent provided under the Army Act, 1950, Air Force Act, 1950 as well as Navy Act, 1957.

According to the provisions of the Act, the Central Government is entrusted with the power to constitute Armed Forces Tribunal which is conferred with right, powers and jurisdiction by the enactment. The Armed Forces Tribunal shall embrace of Chairperson appointed by the Central Government. The Tribunal shall also be added with Judicial Members and Administrative Members as the Central Government appoints as per the terms of the Act. Each bench of the Tribunal shall include one Judicial and Administrative Member respectively. The Chairperson is also empowered to perform the tasks of the Judicial as well as Administrative member. He is also given the power to transfer members if it is necessary. Where a decision is to be concluded by more than two members in the opinion of the Chairperson, he can make order with respect to the expansion of the Bench. To be appointed as a Chairperson, the proposed person should be qualified as prescribed under the enactment. The Chairperson shall be a retired Supreme Court Judge or retire High Court Chief Justice. The Judicial Member shall be a sitting High Court Judge or even a retired person. An administrative member shall be equivalent to the Major General or has served in the army, air force or navy for at least three years. He should also have held the post of Judge, Advocate General for at least one year and such other qualifications as determined under the Act.

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Moreover, the appointment of the Chairperson is done by the President along with other Members after discussion with the Supreme Court Chief Justice. The term of office of the Chairperson added with other member shall be four years and shall be re-appointed if required. The resignation of the Chairperson as well as other members shall be given to the President by written notice. The Central Government is under the duty to decide the salaries and other grants of the Chairperson including other judicial and administrative members. The Act further provides restriction on the Chairperson and other members to hold some offices after retirement or resignation from the office of the Tribunal. The Chairperson is assigned some financial powers including the power to delegate. The authority also consists in the administrative framework of the Tribunal. The personnel and other staffs of the Tribunal are decided by the Central Government.

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Under the saving clause, the Act provides that the Tribunal shall perform the powers and other functions entrusted to it with respect to the service matters from the initiation of the Act. The Tribunal shall accept an application concerning the service matters and decide upon the application after due inquiry. The Tribunal shall exercise the functions as that of a Civil Court complying when deciding a suit. The Tribunal is given the authority to review its own decisions. The Tribunal shall entertain an application only after verifying that the aggrieved person has exhausted the local remedies available to him. However, the Tribunal is not under an obligation to comply with the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 but shall conclude an application based on the natural justice principle. A person aggrieved by the order of the Tribunal shall prefer an appeal to the Supreme Court. The Central Government shall construct rules to conform with the provisions of the Act effectively.