BENGALURU: To enable speedy disposal of cases filed by serving and retired officers of the armed forces and their families, the Circuit Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) will be set up in Bengaluru soon.
A building inside the DGQA premises close to TV Tower in JC Nagar has been identified for housing the Circuit Bench. The entire process of establishing the bench is likely to be completed within a year.
“Not many people are aware of the Armed Forces Tribunal or its sittings in the city. The process has been started to set up a Circuit Bench and once that is done, more people will be aware of it,” Justice S S Satheesachandran, Member (J) of the AFT, Regional Bench, Kochi, told Express. AFT Kochi has a jurisdiction of Kerala, Karnataka and Lakshadweep.
Necessary modifications need to be made in the building to provide a courtroom, office space for the members and other staff, said Vice Admiral M P Muralidharan, Member (A). “Once it is established, we can have staff here, who can directly receive cases. Sittings will be more regular and frequent,” Justice Satheesachandran said.
At present, in the absence of a bench, cases are heard once in two to three months at the Parachute Regiment and Training Centre in JC Nagar. Justice Satheesachandran and Vice Admiral Muralidharan are in the city to hear cases for three days starting Monday. During its sitting, the tribunal disposes of around five cases in a day. The number is much higher — around 30 cases a day — at the Regional Bench in Kochi. The tribunal deals with various cases related to persons subject to the Army, Navy and Air Force Acts and also to provide for appeals arising out of orders, findings or sentences of Court Martial.
Members of the tribunal are appointed by the President of India and their order can only be questioned in the Supreme Court.
Major General Goes to Tribunal
A Major General posted in Bengaluru recently approached the tribunal seeking direction to the Centre and Army headquarters to consider him for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General.
The bench in its order stated that the “applicant has to prefer a statutory complaint before the competent authority in case he is aggrieved by the selection and promotion...’’
Ex-servicemen who find it difficult to travel to Bengaluru to file a complaint before AFT can even do so by just writing to the AFT Bench in Kochi. “People can even file a complaint by post in the proper format and that will be treated
as a complaint,” said Vice Admiral M P Muralidharan.