The Centre has appointed eight judicial and 15 administrative members to the Armed Forces Tribunal for dispensing cost-effective and speedy justice to the armed forces personnel.
On June 24 last year, the Union Cabinet had given its approval for the creation of 31 posts for the Tribunal — a chairperson, one principal registrar and 29 members. They will be part of the principal bench at New Delhi and eight regional branches.
The setting up of the Tribunal was a long-pending demand of the armed forces personnel as there was a backlog of over 9,800 cases before various high courts. Among the cases, 2,487 will be transferred to the Chandigarh bench, while 2,407 will be adjudicated by the Lucknow bench. The principal bench in New Delhi will take care of 2,306 cases.
The Armed Forces Tribunal Act came into effect on June 15, 2008. The Act deals with all the disputes and complaints regarding the commission, appointments, enrolment and conditions of service of the personnel in the three armed forces. Appeals arising out of orders, findings or sentences of court martial will also be dealt with.
The Tribunal has the powers to initiate contempt proceedings. All appointments to the Tribunal are made in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. The members will hold the post for a period of four years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, at a pay scale of Rs 26,000.
The principal bench at New Delhi will have three courts and also jurisdiction over the high court of Delhi. Chandigarh and Lucknow will also have three courts each. The locations of the benches with one court each will be Kolkata, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai and Jaipur. The Kochi bench will have jurisdiction over Kerala and Karnataka. The Chennai bench will look after Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.