The National Service Act, 1972

The National Service Act, 1972 (Act No. 28 of 1972) dated 9th June, 1972 was enacted with the object to register qualified persons for rendering national service. The Act contains seven chapters with 38 sections providing for several matters. The Act was enacted with its extension to whole of India as provided under Section 1. Another important provision i.e. Section 2 of the Act defines various terms used under the different provisions of this Act.

The second Chapter of the Act (from Section 3 to 10) deals with liability of persons to render national services. Section 3 of the Act requires qualified persons to render national service if not attained the age of 30 years on commencement of the Act, should be liable to be called up on for national service for 4 years period or until such persons attain the age of 30 years.

The Section 4 of the Act requires the performance of service as of the members of any Armed Forces of the Union for the specified of 4 years if such qualified person has been enlisted as such under any other law, in force for the time being. Such performance of services should be in lieu of national service. Such persons should not be called up for rendering national service till they continue to be the member of that force.

Section 5 of the Act specifies the liability of qualified persons who was serving in the Armed Forces of the Union and ceased to serve as such, before he completed the four years. Such persons should be called up on for national service for such time.

Similarly, Section 6 of the Act empowers the Central Government to call up on a qualified person for rendering national service for the period and the place which the Central Government specifies in this behalf. Further, Section 7 of the Act requires the persons enlisted for such national service, to be bound to serve in the attached Armed forces. And Section 8 is important so far as it concerned with the release of the qualified persons from employment of nation service by the employer on such requirement by the Central Government. And on such release the employer thereof should be free from liability of payment of salary, etc. Similarly, no contract of employment should be existed on such release. Section 8(5) of the Act make such released person specifically liable for punishment in case of failure to comply with the requirement of order of the Central Government as to his release.

The important provision relating to transfer of such qualified persons by the Central Government from one branch of Armed Force of the Union to another branch thereof, by providing regulation, contained under Section 9 of the Act. Similarly, Section 10 of the Act specifically bars such qualified persons, serving in national service, from leaving service until he is discharged from such service.

The Chapter-III of the Act (from Section 11 to 17) deals with registration and enlistment for national service. Section 11 specifies that, all the persons who are being qualified and if liable at commencement of this Act, can make applications after the commencement of this Act within 90 days thereof, to be registered under this Act. Similarly, such qualified persons if after the commencement of that are liable to be called up on for national service then they should make applications for registration within 30 days from the date on which they became liable. Further, section 12 requires the Central Government to direct such qualified persons to furnish their information and also for registration of such applications. Similarly, if any such person is failed as to compliance of such orders made by the Central Government while dealing with registration applications, then such person are made liable under sub section (3) of the Section 12 of the Act for the punishment extending to imprisonment or with fine or even with both. Further, another important provision as to taking information under confidence is given under next sub Section i.e. (5) of this Section. The Central Government is required under further sub section to register such persons who have duly made applications for their registration and provide them the certificate of registration. And further sub sections provide for contents essentially to be contained under such certificate.

The Section 13 of the Act makes provision as to service of Notice by the Central Government as to likelihood of registration to such person being qualified and have applied for registration. Even such notice can also be served requiring such person to submit examination of physical and mental fitness. Section 14, finally makes provisions as to giving written notice (Enlistment Notice) to those who are found fit for National service, stating that such persons are called up on for national service. Further, Section 15 of the Act makes provisions as to salary, allowances, etc. to those who are called up for national services. Section 16 deals with training of the qualified persons during his term of national service.

Further, Section 17 of the Act prescribes that once the enlisted person in national service completed the prescribed period thereof is entitled to be discharged from national service. Not only this, but also the person can be discharged even prior to expiration of prescribed period. On such discharge the person discharged should be given certificate thereof.

Moreover, the next Chapter i.e. Chapter VI of the Act deals with postponement of national service, wherein Section 18 makes provisions as to constitution of National Service (Hardship) Committee. And Section 19 says that if any such persons who is qualified and was given a notice under the provisions of this Act, then the employer of such person can apply as to certificate of postponement of liability within 60 days thereof, to be called up for national service on ground of exceptional hardship would arose if such person will be called as such. Such application for postponement is to be made before Central Government and the Central Government should refer such application to the abovementioned committee. Any such application if made falsely then it entails liability extending to imprisonment or fine or both. Further, provisions deals with revocation and suspension of such postponement. The Chapter V of the Act deals with reinstatement of former employees. Moreover, Chapter VI of the Act explains other offences and prescribes penalties thereof, wherein offence of false giving false statement or making forged document (forgery) and breaching the provisions of this Act is liable to be punished and punishment thereof extends to imprisonment or fine or even both. The final Chapter deals with miscellaneous provisions where, provisions as to summary trial, delegation of power by Central Government to State Government, power of Central to government as to making of rules and also regulations on matters given, etc are provided.

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan