The Lok Sahayak Sena Act came into force on 15th September 1956. The act extends to whole of India. The act is enacted with an aim to inculcate a spirit of nationhood in the citizens by formally imparting military training, so that they can serve the nation in the hour of need and also to strengthen them physically and mentally. The act is also in consonance with the fundamental duties enshrined under Article 51 (A) clause (d) which imposes a duty to ‘defend and render national service when called upon to do so’.
The act differentiates the commissioned officers from volunteers. A commissioned office under the Act would mean an officer in the Army. The term volunteers have been defined under the Act as a person enrolled in a force under the Act.
Kerela High Court in Kuttan Pillai versus Union Of India, LAWS(KER)-1994-1-9 decided on 3rd January 1994, has differentiated a volunteer under the Act and an Army Officer. It was held, ‘a member of the Lok Sahayak Sena even though drawn from the armed forces, is not a person who is in the service of the army. His service during such period is in the Lok Sahayak Sena which is voluntary force and not the Indian Army’.
A Lok Sahayak Sena shall be raised and formed under the Act by the Central Government. The person volunteering shall be enrolled by the central government. Section 4 of the act speaks about organising and formation of camps. The government may shut down or reorganise a camp and shall open any number of camps as it may deem fit.
Section 5 of the act lays the necessary conditions for such camps. One of the most essential requisite is the age, any person not below the age of 18 years and not above 40 years can become a part of such camp. The government may lay down certain conditions under the act required to be fulfilled by the volunteer. A volunteer shall not be liable to impart military services however if circumstances so require he may assume military responsibilities or any other responsibilities as prescribed by the appropriate government. Incase a volunteer wants himself to be released from services rendered by him as Lok Sahayak volunteer he shall do so only in a manner prescribed. A person otherwise ceases to be a volunteer under the act only on the expiration of the camp and not before.
Inorder to instil a sense of responsibility and discipline in the volunteer the act lays down certain principles disobeyance of which volunteer shall be made liable under the act. A volunteer shall not indulge into any fight, shall not leave the camp, shall be present on all times at places directed by his officials and shall not disobey any order from his superiors. When a volunteer is required to be present in a particular place, his non presence shall allow the officer to sign a document of absence treated as certificate. This certificate shall be evidence against such volunteer under section 10 of the act. Incase of default such volunteered could be fined and imprisoned for a period of seven days under the Act. The fine so imposed is liable to be recovered in accordance with provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure. The act also takes into care that in case a volunteer wilfully destructs a property he shall be penalised in terms of fine which can be recovered by the authorities in accordance with law.
The Central Government has power under the act to make rules prescribing the code of conduct, the duties, responsibilities and conditions for the volunteer. Such rules shall only be enforced once sanctioned by both houses of parliament.
The act is an effort to infuse into the citizen a feeling of nation hood and to train them into strong individuals by giving them training similar to that of military training. However the volunteers here would not fall in the definition of army personnel’s.
by Vibhuti Nakta