A Glimpse At The Army Act, 1950 And Military Justice System Of India

A country’s defence system is one strong body protecting the country from outside danger. The stronger the country’s defence is, the more powerful it becomes. The military is the strongest pillar of the country.

The armed forces responsible for securing and defending the country are the military, including the army, the navy, and the marines. The Indian military, for a long time, has maintained its distance from the public. Some practices and traditions explicitly get followed in India. The Indian Army has its own sets of rules and regulations that regulate the military.

The Indian Army is the largest in the world. And so, to maintain law and order, the Indian Army Act and Rules were framed. There are separate legislations for every form of the military in India. The common legislations are The Army Act, 1950; the Navy Act, 1957; the Air Force Act, 1950.

Army act in India

Like the other legislation in India, the Army Act is also the legislation introduced by the British during their regime. The Indian Army Act, 1911 was introduced after the revolt of 1857.

After the Independence of India, when British rule came to an end, the earlier act, the Indian Army Act, 1911, was repealed, and new legislation, the Indian Army Act,1950, was introduced.

The act got introduced with all the necessary changes required as per the situation. The Army Rules, 1950, later followed the act. The Army Rules of 1950 later got repealed by the Army Rules of 1954. The act and the rules are amended from time to time to meet the requirements of society.

Overview of the Army Act 1950

Army in general terms can get defined as a military branch that has specially trained people who serve their country at times of war and peace.

The Army Act, 1950 consolidates and amends the law related to the regular Army. The Army Act, 1950 and got enforced on 22nd July 1950. The Army Act gets divided into XV Chapters and 196 Sections.

The Summary Court-Martial can try the personnel below the rank of the Junior Commissioned Officer as per the provisions of the Army Act 1950. The summary-martial court can also award the punishment of dismissal and imprisonment up to one year.

Chapter I

Section 1, 2 and 3 of the Army Act, 1950 are Chapter 1. These Sections cover the Short Title, Person Subject to the Act and the definition covered.

Section 2 of the Army Act, 1950 provides the person who is the subject matter of the act. The persons are:

  • The officers are junior commissioned officers and the warrant officers of the army.
  • Persons enrolled under this act
  • Persons who belong to the Indian Reserve Forces
  • Persons who belong to the Indian Supplementary Reserve Forces are called out for service.
  • Territorial Army Officer.
  • Persons who hold a commission in the Army in Indian Reserve Officers
  • Officers appointed to the Indian Regular Reserve Officer

Chapter II

Chapter II of the Army Act, 1950 covers the Sections from Section 4 to 9. It provides for the Special provision for applying acts in certain cases.

Section 4 of the Army Act, 1950 provides the Application of the act to certain forces under the central government. This section grants power to the central government to apply the act’s provisions to any force or persons employed in military services with or without modification.

Section 6 of the Army act provides special provisions regarding the rank of the officer. The Central Government under this section can authorise any officer to give direction and cancel such direction. This section also mentions that when a person other than who is subject of this act and no direction is made regarding certain officers, the person will be of lower rank than a non-commissioned officer.

Section 7 of the Army Act, 1950 states about the commanding officer.

Section 8 of the Act gives the power to certain officers to act only in certain cases.

Section 9 of the Army Act, 1950 vests the central government’s power to declare any person to be the person on active service.

Chapter III

Chapter III of the Army Act deals with the Commission, Appointment and Enrolment. This chapter covers the Sections from Section 10 to Section 17.

As per Section 10 of the Army Act, 1950, the President has the power to grant to any person:

  • a commission as an officer, or
  • as a junior commissioned officer, or
  • any person can get appointed as a warrant officer of the regular army.

Section 11 of the Army Act provides that a person who is not a citizen of India shall be eligible to be enrolled in the regular army. This condition does not apply to a person from Nepal. And also, an exception can be made with the consent of the Central Government.

Section 12 of the Army Act, 1950 provides that no female is eligible to be employed in the regular army except in the department where the Official Gazette notifies the central government.

Section 13 of the Army Act, 1950 provides the Procedure before Enrolling Officer.

Section 14 Provides for the Mode of Enrolment. And the validity of such Enrolment is provided under Section 15 of the Army Act, 1950.

Section 16 and Section 17 of the Army Act, 1950 provides the person to be attested and the mode of such attestation.

Chapter IV

Chapter IV of the Army Act, 1950 provides the condition of service. This chapter covers the sections from section 18 to section 24.

Section 18 of the Army Act provides that any person should hold the office as per the willingness of the President.

Section 19 provides that the Central Government can remove any person from service. Further, Section 20 provides that the Army Staff and the senior officer also have the same power.

Section 21 of the Act vests the central government’s power to modify the fundamental rights of the persons who are the subject matter of this act.

Chapter V

Chapter V of the Army Act, 1950 provides special provisions. This chapter covers the Sections from Section 25 to Section 33.

Section 28 and Section 29 of the Army Act, 1950 provides immunity from attachment and arrest for debt. It also provides the process issued by or by the authority of the Civil or Revenue Court or by the Revenue Officer.

Section 30 of the Army Act,1950 provides the immunity of persons attending courts-martial from arrest. This section includes; legal practitioners as well. According to this act, an exemption applies to the person regarding a summons issued for attending a court-martial while proceeding, attending or returning from a Court Martial can be arrested under civil or revenue process.

Chapter VI

Chapter VI of the Army Act, 1950 covers various offences. This chapter covers Section 34 to Section 34 to Section 70.

This Chapter of the Act provides various acts that are considered offences. This chapter offers offences related to the enemy and are punishable with death; offences related to the enemy but not punishable with death. Further, this section provides the punishable offences more severely when committed at the time of service than other times and miscellaneous offences.

Chapter VII

Chapter VII of the Army Act, 1950 provides punishment for various offences. This Chapter covers Sections from Section 71 to Section 89. This section provides punishment for certain offences and punishment for officials.

Chapter VIII

Chapter VIII of the Army Act 1950 provides the provisions related to the Penal Deductions. This Chapter covers sections from section 90 to section 100. This chapter provides provisions for the deduction from pay and allowance of officers and persons other than officers. It also includes the time of absence and custody of the person. This chapter provides the pay and allowance during the trial and other provisions.

Chapter IX

Chapter IX of the Army Act, 1950 provides the Arrest and Proceedings before Trial provision. This chapter of the act covers Sections from section 101 to section 107.

Chapter X

Chapter X of the Army Act, 1950 provides the provisions related to the Court Martials. This chapter covers the Sections from section108 to section 126.

This section provides provisions from court-martials to their powers and composition. This section offers the power of the court-martial, trial and limitation of the court-martial. It also provides the jurisdictions under Army Act.

Chapter XI and Chapter XII

Chapter XI of the Army Act, 1950 provides the court-martial procedure and covers sections 128-152.

Chapter XII of the Army Act, 1950 provides the provision for confirmation and revision of sentences and covers sections from section 153 to section 165.

Chapter XIII, XIV AND XV

Chapter XIII of the Army Act, 1950 provides the provision for the execution of sentences and covers sections from section 166 to section 178.

Chapter XIV of the Army Act, 1950 provides pardon, remission and suspensions and covers sections 179 to 190.

Chapter XV of the Army Act, 1950 provides the rules and covers sections 191 to 193A.

Military justice

Military Justice is the body of law and procedure that regulates the conduct and governance of soldiers. There are separate lawmaking bodies designed to control the country’s soldiers. Different countries have different mechanisms to deal with the military. Some countries have separate and distinct lawmaking bodies that control the country’s soldiers. On the other hand, some countries have different judicial bodies and arrangements that administer justice.

Military justice in India

India has its military laws: Army Act, 1950, Navy Act of 1957 and Air Force Act, 1950. These laws give the statutory provisions that apply to men and women in Uniform. Various other acts apply to different defence services. Some of the acts are The Border Security Force Act, The Coast Guard Act, The Indo-Tibetan Border Police Act and many more; The Army Act inspires all acts.

The objective for which the British developed military justice was to enable discipline in Indians after the revolt of 1857. It is also the main objective behind the Indian Army Act, Navy Act and the Air Force Act.

There was a significant requirement to make different laws for different military forces. The military is one such body that requires speedy decision making, which was not possible through debates and discussions.

The military hierarchy system gets formed so that it is fast.

Reforms within the military justice system

Many cases are brought before the upper civil court. It shows that the armed forces justice delivery system is slow and is not so strong that it fulfils man’s aspirations in uniform. The military justice system in India can get traced back to England’s Military Laws.

Superannuated

The military justice system was found old-fashioned and did not meet the liberal policy of the Constitution of India. It was required to make a fair balance between democratic society pressures and military discipline requirements. Similar to the other legislations of India, the military justice system of India is also taken from another country. England’s military laws are the origin of the Military Justice System in India.

After the revolt of 1857, Britishers brought military law to govern the natives. But the law had major flaws.

The flaws are as follows:

  • No bail was granted to the military personnel arrested for charges
  • No proper legal assistance was not provided to the accused during the court-martial.
  • No appeal could get filed against the sentence passed by the court-martial.
  • The court-martial chairman and member were under the influence of the convening officer.

Shocking deficiencies

Human Rights and judicial activism are kept different in service as per the terms of service of the aggrieved military personnel and the justice of the court-martial. There were shocking deficiencies in the safeguard granted to the accused and the attitude of the personnel who administer the military justice delivery system. The justice system was considered an instrument of executive power of the executive department.

It would not be correct to say that there is no need to reform the law as the number of people affected by military law is small. The military justice system should adopt a procedure that is open and aims at the liberal interpretation of the principle of natural justice. The primary purpose of the military justice system must be to maintain discipline within the organisation. Accordingly, the focus must be on organisational effectiveness rather than punishing or protecting individual action.

Conclusion

Military law provisions that govern the role of the Indian Army during the formulation of peace and war in the form of Statutes, Rules and Regulations. The legal and justice system of the army is entirely different from the normal judicial system. The difference in the legal and justice system of the armed forces is to maintain discipline and avoid the prolonged absence of military officers and men from their duties. The appeals system is not included in the military justice system, as it is in the civil system.

The Army Act, 1950 has succeeded in maintaining the resemblance of order in the military for years since Independence. The Army Act, 1950 urgently needs to be rectified according to the country’s needs.

FAQs related to the Army Act

What is the primary defect in the Army Act?

The primary defect in the Army Act, 1950 is that it does not include the right to bail and the right to appeal.

Who are the persons who are subject of the Army Act, 1950?

Section 2 of the Army Act, 1950 provides the person who is the subject matter of the act. The persons are:

  • The officers are junior commissioned officers and the warrant officers of the army.
  • Persons enrolled under this act
  • Persons who belong to the Indian Reserve Forces.
  • Persons who belong to the Indian Supplementary Reserve Forces are called out for service.
  • Territorial army officer
  • Persons who hold a commission in the Army in Indian Reserve Officers
  • Officers appointed to the Indian Regular Reserve Officers

What are the offences punishable more severely on active service than at other times?

According to Section 36 of the Army Act, 1950, any person who is subject to this Army Act if he commits any of the following offences:

  • That he forces a safeguard or a criminal force to a sentry.
  • That he breaks into any house or any other place in search of plunder.
  • When a sentry sleeps or is intoxicated
  • When he is without an order, the superior officer leaves his guards, post, petrol, or picquet.
  • When an officer intentionally or due to his neglect creates a false alarm in a camp, garrison or quarters. If the officer also spreads such reports that create unnecessary alarms or despondency.

An officer committing any of the following acts is liable for imprisonment for a term that may extend to fourteen years or less punishment, especially when an officer is on active service.

Suppose an officer is not on active service. In that case, he commits any offence mentioned under section 36. Then he is liable to suffer imprisonment that may extend to seven years or less.

What punishment is given to an officer who has committed an offence under Section 35 of the Army Act, 1950?

When an officer has committed an offence under Section 35 of the Army Act, 1950, then on conviction by the court-martial, the officer is liable for imprisonment that may extend to fourteen years or less.

Related Posts