The Indo–Tibetan Border Police Force Act, 1992 (herein after mentioned as “the act/ said act) was enacted by the Parliament of India in the year 1992 and ruls there under were framed in the year 1994. The said police force is one of the Central armed forces of India and was formulated in the year 1962 under the CRPF Act. The main aim of the act is to safeguard and vigil on the northern borders, fend off border violations, and prevent trans-border smuggling and perform such other function as prescribed in the act.
The history of the ITBPF can be traced back to 4 battalions which is now expanded to 45 plus battalions. The first head of the ITBPF to be designated as Inspector General was Balbir Singh who was previously a police officer in Intelligence Bureau. Presently, battalions of ITBP are deployed on border guard duties from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Diphu La in Arunachal Pradesh, covering 3488 km of the India-China border.
The Act defines various terms some of which are as follows-
- Battalion- which means a unit of force formed as battalion by the Central Government
- Civil offence- which means an offence which is triable by Criminal Court
- Commanding Officer is a person who is in command of a unit under this Act
- “Deputy Inspector General” and “Additional Deputy Inspector General” means any person who is appointed under Section 5 of this Act.
- Force means Indo – Tibetan Border Police Force
- Force Court means a Court referred to in Section 76 of the Act
- Force Custody means arrest or confinement of a member of the force as per the rules laid down
- Under- Officer means any person who is a Head Constable, a Naik o a Lance Naik in the force
The Central Government controls, supervises, invigilates and directs the functions of the Force, subject to the provisions of this act. Such commandment shall vest in the Officer appointed by the Central Government to be designated as Director- General of the force. Each member of the Force is liable to serve within any part of India as well as outside India. The Members of such force shall be enrolled as per the procedure prescribed. The resignation of a member of the force is subject to previous approval in writing and such member cannot shed of from his duties or discharge himself from any liability without seeking a prior permission in writing.
The incumbency of every person of the Force is during the pleasure of President of India and the Central Government is at the liberty to dismiss any person from the services. The Director- General is empowered to dismiss any person or degrade his rank, except the person designated as officer. A person not less than the grade of Additional Deputy Inspector-General is authorized by this act to dismiss any such person under his command. Any person whose services have been terminated shall be issued with a certificate of termination of service by the Officer under whose commandment the services are so terminated, mentioning the authority terminating his service, reasons for such termination and full period of his service in the Force. Restrictions are imposed by the Central Government upon every person of the Force to form or be a part of any association, institution, society, labor or trade union or any political association, subject t prior approval in writing. Such members of the Force are also prohibited from making any communication with press or publish any book, letter or other document except such communication or publication which are bona fide in discharge of his duties or which are purely of artistic or scientific nature.
Any person, other than a Officer, who is aggrieved with the commandment of his Superior Officer and believes that any wrong has caused to him, can raise a complaint. Investigation shall be conducted to that effect and full redressal shall be made of such complaint. An officer can raise a complaint against his superior officer and in the event of unsatisfactory redressal can approach the Director- Genreal or Central Government through proper channel.
A member of the Force will be convicted with death sentence by the Force Court if he is proved guilty of following offences-
- Shamefully abandoning any post, place or guard which he had a duty to defend.
- Willfully uses any means to compel or induce any person to act against any enemy or discourages any person to defend against the enemy, under this act or under any act relating to military, naval force o air force or any other armed forces of the union.
- Relinquishes any arms, ammunitions, tools or equipments in presence of the enemy or terrorist or misbehaves or acts spinelessly
- Acts deceptively or unfaithfully by communicating any intelligence against the Union to any terrorist or enemy
- Directly or indirectly assists any enemy or terrorist with money, arms, ammunition, stores or supplies or in any other manner
- During the course of any active operation against the enemy, rings any false alarm in any camp, quarters etc and spreads any false reports to that effect
- During any active operation, leaves his commanding officer or superior officer or his patrol, post, guard, picket or any party unrelieved
- In the captivity of the enemy or on being detained during the war assists or aids the enemy
- Deliberately protects an enemy, not being in prison
- During an active operation with enemy sleeps upon or is intoxicated
- Doing any such act that will deter the success of the Force or military or Air force or naval force or any other force of India
Below stated are some of the offences which are penalized severely if committed during active duty than otherwise –
- Using any force on a safeguard, or using criminal force on a sentry
- Housing breaking or breaking into any other place in search of plunder
- Being a sentry sleeps upon his post or is in intoxicated state
- Leaves his guard, post or picket without the orders of the senior officer
- Provides details of parole, watchward or countersign to any person not entitled to receive it
Any person, who causes, conspires, begins or provokes any mutiny in the Force or any other Force in India shall be convicted with a death sentence or any such less punishment as specified in the Act.
A person who deserts from active service be liable to a death penalty or such less punishment as prescribed in the Act. Any person who is absent from his service without leave shall be convicted with imprisonment which may extend to three years. Any person who threatens his superior officer by using criminal force or by threatening language or any offensive language shall be penalized by the Force Court. Such trial shall also be conducted for disobedience of the orders of superior officer. Any person of the Force found intoxicated under this Act, whether on duty or not shall be liable to suffer imprisonment by the Force Court which may extend to six months.
The Act lays down such other offences for extortion, injury to property, escape from custody, false accusation, falsifying official documents, and such other offences relating to Force Court. The Act lays down various punishments for offences committed.
The Act has prescribed three types of Force Courts-
- General Force Courts
- Petty Force Courts
- Summary Force Courts
The General Force Court can be convened by the Central Government or the Director General of the Force o by any person appointed on behalf, subject to warrant issued by Director General. Such Force Court shall constitute atleast five Officers. The senior member of such court shall be the Presiding Officer.
A Petty Force Court can be convened by any Officer empowered to convene General Force Court or by any such officer appointed on behalf, subject to warrant issued by authorized officer. Such Court shall constitute minimum three Officers.
A Summary Force Court can be held by a commanding officer of any unit and can be constituted by him alone.
The Force Court shall stand dissolved if the quorum of officers falls below the minimum prescribed level after commencement of any trial. The Force Court under this Act are empowered to operate as a judicial Court within the meaning of Section 345 and 346 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the proceedings under this Court will be judicial proceedings within the meaning of Section 198 and 228 of Indian Penal Code.
The rank structure of the Members of the Force shall flow as follows:-
(a) officers (i) Director-General. (ii) Additional Director-General. (iii) Inspector-General. (iv) Deputy Inspector-General. (v) Additional Deputy Inspector General (vi) Commandant. (vii) Second-in-Command. (viii) Deputy Commandant. (ix) Assistant Commandant.
(b) subordinate officers (i) Subedar-Major. (ii) Subedar/Inspector. (iii) Sub-Inspector.
(c) under-officers (i) Head Constable (ii) Naik (iii) Lance Naik.
(d) enrolled persons other than under-officers-constable.
Thus, the tasks of the Force include disaster management in the critically affected area of the Mountains, and also evacuate safely and carry out various rescue operations in the calamity affected areas. The members of the Force have to undergo rigorous training to sustain in worst climates and safeguard the borders.
by Dakshaja Yeolekar