This article on ‘Laws regulating the Indian Military System’ was written by an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Our nation’s defence system is where we have a unified force that protects the nation from outside risk. If our nation’s protection is strong then our nation will become more powerful. The military is the most vital foundation of the nation.
The military which consists of the army, navy, marines, and air force is in charge of safeguarding and protecting the nation. The Indian Military System has had no connection with the general populace for a very long time. There are several customs in India which has been openly observed. The Indian Army adheres to a clear stand of guidelines that control the troops.
This article will be going to discuss the laws which regulate the military in India and we will also discuss the Indian Army Act, of 1950, the Navy Act, of 1957 and the Air Force Act, of 1950 along with the loopholes in the Indian Military System.
Indian Military Regulations in India
There are military laws in India that have given the soldiers some exceptional abilities and also restrict their conduct. There are several rights of troops that have been curtailed by military laws while there are some rights that have been granted to them specifically.
For example, our Indian Constitution states that the individual who is selected for the service of the soldier or those employed by agencies are not permitted to file a case to the High Court or to the Supreme Court if their fundamental rights are broken by specific legislation such as military regulations. The above regulations also aid in preserving good military command and guaranteeing the Army’s efficient operation.
Each sort of military in India is subject to a different set of laws. India has its own rules in place to control its military. The following statutes are applicable to both men and women who serve in an Armed Force, and these are as follows.
Indian Army Act, 1950
Normally speaking, the army is a component of the armed forces that consists of people with specialised training who defend their nation in both peacetime and war.
The Army Act has been introduced during the British Era like the other laws in India. The 1857 uprising led to the introduction of the Indian Army Act, of 1911. When India gained its independence from British domination, so the previous Indian Army Act of 1911 was abolished and the new law Indian Army Act, of 1950 was adopted.
The law was enacted after each, and every modification needed to reflect the circumstances. The law and its regulations are periodically changed to reflect societal demands. The Army Act of 1950 unifies and updates the legal framework governing the National Forces. The Army Act of 1950 went into effect on July 22, 1950. The Army Act is broken down into 196 Sections and XV Chapters.
Before India got its independence there is the Indian Navy Discipline Act, of 1934 passed in accordance with section 66 of the Government of India Act, 1919, which represented the Naval Forces.
Air Force Act, 1950
The Air Force Act, which went into effect around 1950, covers both personnel who are recruited within this Act and those who are a part of the Indian National Guard.
Flaws in the Indian Military System
The Army Act, which is filled with flaws, is a representation of the earlier legal system in place in British times as well as other measures taken by the numerous military forces. Eliminating these shortcomings is crucial to prevent them from damaging or even destroying the military justice system. There are some minimal flaws that exist, and they are as follows.
There is no bail provision for military officials
There is no right to bail; nonetheless, military members who are purportedly guilty of any crimes have a legal provision that allows individuals to post bond. The option to provide bail or not depends on how much discretion the superior authority has. While awarding bail to a person, the SC court has established a set of rules that must be adhered to. Nonetheless, it is maintained that granting bail at anyone’s choice is arbitrary, discriminatory, and in violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It does not permit the offender to hire a civil attorney, or a military officer designated as the defence officer to represent him. Given the lack of legal aid resources, this episode may be considered a major breach of Article 21.
Article 20(2) provides a constitutional defence to the accused convicted for the same offence again. It is accessible during the military justice phase, but the civil court will not apply it to prevent a second trial for the same crime.
Military Officials have not been permitted to Appeal
There is no appeals provision in a higher court. Section 164(2) of the Army Act only includes an appeal procedure following the authority has issued a conclusion or sentence. For example, it says that the squad may appeal to a higher authority or the central government if they are dissatisfied with the judgment. Hence, it can be claimed that the suspect does not have access to this relief until the verdict or punishment has been affirmed. But it was carried out in a small space where no legal counsel could be present, rendering the clause useless. As a result, it might be claimed that army members have no opportunity for appeal.
The trial was held as part of a summary court-martial
The Summary Court Martial, which is a Special Court, is when the criminal army workforce’s case is held. Due to the absence of a lawyer, the SCM trial falls short of the standards of fairness established by the Apex Court and the High courts. As a result, the SCM simulates some aspects of the prosecutor. The Indian Constitution’s Article 22 is violated whenever the suspect is unable to protect himself with the assistance of a lawyer or security official. The Supreme Court and high courts have harshly chastised SCMs for violating unequal and acceptable sensitivity criteria.
The Indian Army’s duties in both peacetime and conflict are controlled by a framework of legislation, norms, and procedures called military law. In addition to administrative standards, it is a writing style that has experienced repeated revisions and adjustments. Troops are based on their own judicial systems, which are very distinct from the general justice system. To manage trains and avoid the prolonged absence of Armed Forces tasks from authorities, the law and judicial process for troops was designed to be reasonably swift in operation. Since the appeals process is part of the civil system, it hasn’t been included in the structure for military justice.
Over 1.5 million Indians are reliant on the system of military law as troops. This organization is in favour of a system set up and executed following the Mutiny of 1857 for the sake of regulation to safeguard the rights of Indian colonial masters. The system of military justice is never questioned in our nation. Moreover, military-related matters are hidden from public view. Regarding the rights of the suspect and individual rights norms, the military justice system around the world has followed a clear pattern of development.
- Anshita Surana, A Glimpse At The Army Act, 1950 and Military Justice System of India. Retrieved: https://getlegalindia.com/army-act-1950/
- Dhruv Dubey, Military laws in India: a critical analysis of the enforcement mechanism, Retrieved:https://blog.ipleaders.in/military-laws-in-india-a-critical-analysis-of-the-enforcement-mechanism/
- Avinash Raj David, Military justice System in India, Vol.6, Issue 3, Journal of Emerging Technologies and Innovative Research. Retrieved: https://www.jetir.org/papers/JETIREW06078.pdf
- Devaansh Singh, Overview of Indian Military Justice System, Vol. IV, Issue IV, International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Retrieved: https://www.ijlmh.com/paper/overview-of-indian-military-justice-system/