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Monday, April 13, 2015

General, with all due respect, please stick to military matters.....

Lt Gen Harwant Singh (Retired), whom I hold in high esteem, has today published an article in the Hindustan Times (Page 5, Chandigarh Edition), waxing eloquent about the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) and that how appeals from it should lie to the Supreme Court, and in the bargain also making some uncharitable comments about our Courts and lawyers.

What bewilders me is the fact that retired officers who have no domain knowledge about law, litigation or the judicial system and also are not in touch with the pain and agony of the veteran or the military widow on the street, are writing opinions by spilling over to fields which they are not even familiar with.

Now, let me take up the main points raised by him, one by one:

Civil Courts’ practice of dragging on cases endlessly giving the example of Hashimpura killings

The General does not seem to understand the basic norm that the pendency of criminal cases or civil matters such as property disputes cannot be compared with service matters. While the former require collection and appreciation of evidence and multiple appellate jurisdiction, the latter emanate from Original jurisdiction of Courts and are not at par. Let us here, at the very outset, kill this myth about delay by Courts in a matter which equally affects civilians and military pensioners and which was taken up on both sides in an analogous manner- the recent removal of the pensionary anomalies of the 6th Central Pay Commission w.e.f 01 Jan 2006 rather than 24 Sept 2012. The same issue was taken up by both civilian and military pensioners. While the first decision in case of military pensioners was rendered by the Armed Forces Tribunal on 14-09-2010, the finality was attained by way of dismissal of the civil appeal by the Supreme Court on 17-03-2015. On the civil side, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had rendered the decision on 01-11-2011 and even after adjudication by the High Court, the SLP filed by the Govt was dismissed by the Supreme Court on 29-07-2013. Which process was quicker despite involvement of the High Court?


Date of Decision for civilian pensioners
Date of Decision for military pensioners
CAT: 01-11-2011
AFT: 14-09-2010
Decision by High Court: 2013

Decision by Supreme Court: 29-07-2013
Decision by Supreme Court: 17-03-2015
Status: Implemented for Petitioners
Status: Not implemented for Petitioners


Civil Courts suffer from lack of knowledge of working of defence services, their ethos, discipline etc

What a joke!

If such an argument were to be accepted, then there should be no Courts at all for any field and we should have only specialized departmental bodies in all areas of law. By this logic, a judge cannot comment on a criminal matter since he/she does not have knowledge of forensic science, a judge should not preside over a matter involving taxation since he/she does not have knowledge of taxation, and he/she should not preside over any service matter of any department since he/she suffers from lack of knowledge of working of that particular department. It would also be beneficial for the General to read up a little more and realize that in the United Kingdom, the Judge Advocate General (who, unlike the JAG in India, is an actual Judge adjudicating military matters) is a Civilian functioning under the Ministry of Law and Justice and this ‘lack of knowledge’ theory does not function in any democracy. The same logic was expressed for tax matters by the government when it created the National Tax Tribunal but the said Tribunal was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last year. Perhaps the General also does not realize that our High Courts since independence have stood as a rock behind the rights of military personnel, veterans and widows and have rendered multiple decisions which have affected the quality of life and the basic existence of the military community.  


AFT was constituted after pressure was built up through a series of articles in the press

Who would tell the good General that the creation of AFT has nothing to do with ‘articles in the press’. The AFT was created as per the observations of the Supreme Court in Lt Col Prithi Pal Singh Bedi’s case and was only supposed to function as an Appellate body for Courts-Martial and not for service matters. It was also supposed to be an ‘independent’ body manned by civilians. However, what came about by way of a poorly drafted Act by our own was that it was ultimately (wrongly) constituted both for appeals from Courts-Martial and also for service matters and was incepted under the dependence of the Ministry of Defence and that too with a Bench comprising a retired Judge and a retired General.


Senior defence officers were co-opted to keep the AFT alive to peculiar conditions of the defence services

While this argument of the General looks attractive from the outside, the presence of retired officers results in lack of objectivity from the viewpoint of a litigant. While many retired officers who are members of the AFT have no doubt rendered an excellent service, there have been many instances wherein their subjective analysis (being from within the system) has hampered the process of law. A litigant before a Tribunal may feel (rightly or wrongly) that a person who himself was a part of the same system- the action of which is being challenged, would not be able to be objective. It may simply be an incorrect perception at times, but as the age old saying goes, “justice should not only be done but also seem to have been done”.


One of the High Courts ruled that verdicts of AFT could be contested in High Courts defeating the very purpose of AFT and that this would further delay matters

The General does not seem to know that High Courts were entertaining challenges to AFT verdicts rendered against military personnel, veterans, disabled soldiers and widows based on the Seven Judge Constitution Bench decision of the Supreme Court in L Chandra Kumar’s case wherein it was held that direct appeals from decisions of Tribunals would not lie to the Supreme Court and would have to be filtered through a Division Bench of the High Court. The General does not analyze that the Supreme Court is very slow in interfering in challenges arising out of decisions rendered by Division Benches of High Courts which are Constitutional Courts while the same is not so in cases of decisions by Tribunals which are merely departmental quasi-judicial bodies. If the system is functioning well for the CAT, it would function well for the AFT too. The General says that almost 2000 decisions of the AFT have not been implemented by the MoD. Well, he is wrong, the number is more than 5000 and civilians do not face the same problem at all with their jurisdiction vested in the Administrative Tribunals and the High Courts. And the General perhaps does not know again that this non-implementation was taken cognizance of by the High Court when the AFT failed to take coercive action against the MoD. 


Ruling of the SC has come to the rescue of veterans but has not gone down well with lawyers


Firstly, the General’s statement about lawyers is detestable and distasteful since many of us have worked tirelessly to reduce litigation against the military community and also to ensure that justice becomes accessible for the military community, especially of the lower ranks. There are countless lawyers who have rendered pro bono service for downtrodden litigants. The General should stop worrying about the monetary aspects of the profession of law but should instead worry about the elimination of the rights of litigants for accessible and affordable justice. Does the General have an idea about the cost of litigation in the Supreme Court? Does the general know that this ruling simply means that the MoD would continue filing en masse appeals in the Supreme Court alleging ‘point of law of general public importance’ in every decision rendered in favour of litigants while the litigants would have no forum to challenge verdicts rendered against them? Does he know that only the army of Govt lawyers in the Supreme Court stands to gain by this and not the other ‘battery of lawyers’ as stated by him?

Secondly, the General should understand that this ruling has made justice impossible and totally out of the reach of the military community since the AFT now becomes the first and the last court and an appeal cannot be filed before the Supreme Court unless the case is so exceptional that it involves a “point of law of general public importance”. Therefore a person who loses a case in the AFT has nowhere to go. There were hundreds of cases where the AFT had decided against defence personnel, disabled soldiers and widows and the decisions were reversed by the High Courts which granted relief to them, the General should inform us whether he would like to take up the role of providing relief and benefits to all those who lose in the AFT and are barred by the latest decision from approaching any forum for relief, or sponsoring the cost of litigation in the Supreme Court which again is not as a matter of right?

To take some examples,




I can point out hundreds of more cases, but I am sure the good General, who is happy to remain a lesser citizen as compared to the common person on the street, would be incapable of rendering any assistance to them except writing another article on a subject the complexity of which he cannot fully analyze. The pain, anguish and frustration of a litigant who does not have a right to challenge a verdict rendered against him/her cannot be fathomed by writing in papers by you, I or the General, perhaps this is the reason why many military veteran bodies all over the country have already written to the Prime Minister and the Law Minister expressing how they have been rendered remediless as compared to other citizens of our country. 

The hallmark of a democracy is an independent judiciary, and litigants and the public at large have utmost trust in our Constitutional Courts, but the General feels that it would be better if litigants remain stuck without any vested right of judicial review with a departmental quasi-judicial body functioning under the very thumb of the opposite party in every litigation- the Ministry of Defence, and which does not even possess the basic power of civil contempt. It was therefore not surprising that even the Prime Minster has expressed more faith in real Courts than Tribunals.

General, with all due respect, please stick to military matters.


42 comments:

Banerjee said...

Well said. Its a " know all" tendency, an ailment ,some people suffer from and in the bargain become a laughing target. Well, that may be the intention'let people laugh at my bleak knowledge - but I am in the news'and that the matter which counts!!!

Anonymous said...

We are expert in digging our own graves.... That's all I can sum up

Anand said...

You have hit the nail on the head Navdeep, n also hammered it in. Hope people are able to see the light

Anonymous said...

Maj Navdeep,
Kindly publish orders ( if issued )
on implementation of SC verdict for 6th CPC benefits to be paid wef 1-1-2006 ( and not 24-9-12) for defence veterans.
Thanks and Regards.

Rajeev Dobhal said...

Very well written Maj Navdeep. I agree with you that everybody should not become expert commentator on every subject. This I am Mr Know All syndrome has done a lot of damage already.

MAJOR NAZAR SINGH GILL said...

Dear General, I request your good self to read letter of Major General Satbir Singh dated 11 Apr 2015 addressed to PM,RM and Law Minister and my comments with regard to placing AFTs under Law Ministry and given Contempt of Court powers like other courts.

Lt Col G K Mohan Rao said...

Maj Navdeep you have been the pioneer in taking up the issues which are affecting the interest of defence personnel, veterans and widows. As RDOA has taken up with PM, DM and Law Minister, I would request you to take up this legal battle individually ( would be too much) or through any ESM forum like RDOA, IESM, Sanjhamorcha, exservicemen welfare organisation etc and get this draconian view be removed earliest and get same status as of Civil administrative tribunal(CAT)for the AFT

Lt Col G K Mohan Rao said...

Maj Navdeep you have been the pioneer in taking up the issues which are affecting the interest of defence personnel, veterans and widows. As RDOA has taken up with PM, DM and Law Minister, I would request you to take up this legal battle individually ( would be too much) or through any ESM forum like RDOA, IESM, Sanjhamorcha, exservicemen welfare organisation etc and get this draconian view be removed earliest and get same status as of Civil administrative tribunal(CAT)for the AFT

exweltrust said...

Respected Major Sir,

Well written.We are with you .

Some Retired Generals think that , they are still in service and superior to all.

If they are not doing/ helping veterans/ disabled and widows, they mus not not harm them .

thanking you /sir.
Sgt.s.kanthiah,
Chief liaison Officer,
Exwel Trust, Tirunelveli-dist. TN

Milind said...

The actual problems lie in the AFTs being under the administrative aegis of the MoD and the process of appointment to the AFTs being totally opaque.
It is a fact that even very succesful and competent legal practitioners belonging to both Bar and Bench have scanty, inadequate and skewed knowledge of military law and matters military in general; and literal application of the letter of the law without regard to the National Interest issues involved in the questions before the court can lead to serious problems. If High Courts are to excercise there Writ Jurisdiction under Art 226 to review the orders of AFTs they must be assised by an Amicus proficient in military law and matters military.

Jai said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,

I had in my comment on your last blog post requested you to elaborate on the rationale if any behind the order eliminating the HC as a court of appeal for AFT orders. May I once again request you too do so in order to enable us to understand the issue in a well rounded manner?
Thank you

Anonymous said...

so true navdeep...most generals think they are know all based on false continous subordinate impression to praise the general whereas in actuality he wouldnt budge an inch from the noting sheet put up by a major or lt col... but yet will feel an authority to comment on subjects on which he would just have peripheral knowledge... organization must ensure due imparting of skill sets to these people who are shallow even in the practical application of war which they seem to practice over entire life span but fail miserably when tested on ground

Library for Retired Defence Personnel said...

Founder president of AFT's Chandigarh bar association, Major Navdeep Singh had written various articles insisting the AFT must be given freedom and also to be brought under the Ministry of law. Most complaints of veterans are against the ministry of defence (MOD) and given that AFTs are an organ of the MOD, there should be a separate body to challenge orders. Defence personnel could challenge AFT orders before the high court until the Supreme Court's March 11 order which held that AFT verdicts cannot be challenged. AFT would become the court of first instance as well as court of last instance. Major Navdeep Singh says, "By losing their access to judicial review, defence personnel and their families have become lesser citizens . One cannot imagine veterans and widows from various parts of the country fighting their cases of benefits involving a few hundred rupees in the Supreme Court." Contesting cases in SC involve huge litigation cost and also will hear a case only if it involve a point of general public importance. I have full confidence in our Honorable Defence Minister that he will certainly put in his best effort to either have the AFT Act amended, make room for appeal after AFT orders or set aside the AFTs altogether away from MOD with full independence.
JWO Edward Michael (Retd)

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

@Jai at 8.47

The entire issue with all aspects has been discussed threadbare on this blog and elsewhere. You may peruse all blog-posts as well as links provided in the same. The rationale cited primarily by SC is the existence of Sections 30 and 31 of the AFT Act.


ninihala said...

Dear Navdeep,
You appear to be rattled that somebody from outside of lawyer- judge fraternity has dared to comment upon a legal matter. You should rather welcome it, even if faulty. After all, law and courts should not be something to be afraid off, best avoided. Since it concerns us all, let people comment on it and people opposing that view counter it with arguments.
That law and courts have evolved into a goddess which can be approached only through a priest is a sad commentary. Laws and court procedures should not overawe its consumers.

Dinkar Adeeb said...

Clearly, the judgement of Hon'ble SC dated 11 Mar 15 blocking HC review of AFT decisions is surprising and not on expected lines of L Chandra kumar ruling of 7 judges bench of SC.The short point involved is-who stands to gain and for whose benefit the entire exercise is on? It is the right of individuals to either go for statutory appel before SC or to first go to test AFT decisions before High Court as part of constitutional scheme of judicial review .GOI may go in appeal to SC only and not go to HC as they have been doing so far.After the present ruling all mil pers are at mercy of commanders and AFT and unless their case has any point of public importance AFT decisions shall be final ie without appeal ! Let us hope that a review petition is taken up by a larger bench of SC and HC jurisdiction is restored at earliest. Brig Dinkar Adeeb(Retd)

Anonymous said...

Reminded =JISAKA KAM USI KO SAJE AUR KARE TO-------

Anonymous said...

My interpretatio0n of section 30 / 31 of AFT.

Section 30 states appeal to supreme court subject to provisions of section 31.

Section 31 can be interpreted as that the case goes supreme court if tribunal certifies that the point of law ,of general public importance is involved in the decision
or
if supreme court invokes its privilege of hearing a particular point.

so my interpretation is that if tribunal does not certify the issue is of general public importance, then the case can be heard by the high court.

Comments??

Anonymous said...


like maj navdeep mentioned:

if case is following a channel of court marshal etc. follow the channel of aft and supreme court (if of public interest)

rest of the issues follow normal courts.

if as a petitioner i donot go to the aft for my pension case then i can follow the standard legal process.

comments??

ps i'm not an advocate. so please be considerate while badgering.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Dear Maj NS you have been doing a great job for the military fraternity of India. It is sad to see that once an officer become full col and above rank by selection, ie, the other side, their thinking and outlook changed. No wonder, such article from a Retd gen. Now, if the serving, retired, veterans and widows do not have anywhere to go, what is the use of joing the military service? Who will ever come to this profession to become a third class/ lesser citizen? Only the fools will do. Its high time the entire military fraternity wake up.
Regards.

sanjeev said...

sir,i am with you most of the time with adding some more point :

service personal are having very less faith in our own system in which AFT is one of them.

our case is NAVAL ARTIFICER III GRADE PAY ISSUE -VERDICT BY AFT CHANDIGARH .

if you will study the case verdict you will find that AFT is a group of jealous officer.

before going into any conclusion ,we have to make a full faithful organisation and the most important our people should come ahead and say that it is the best system, and we require this.

sanjeev kumar,
EX-CHIEF ARTIFICER INDIAN NAVY

DEV said...

I strongly feel that the institution of AFT has to under go drastic changes to make it worthy to serve the service persons , veterans and dependents. The first and foremost is AFT should come under the law ministry and to be independent of defense ministry. Secondly the administrative member should not be from armed forces . It is not a secret that many of the administrative members are seeking administrative support from the local military authorities as well as still floating in the social circle offered by services. The aloofness expected out of persons working with judicial forum is lacking in their case . This raises justifiable or unjustifiable apprehensions at the hearts of litigants and potential litigants. Thirdly there is very much a possibility that an appellant is challenging a policy which was either formulated or conceptualized by the administrative member when he was in service. If that is the case then where is the neutrality !! Fourthly like any other citizen service persons and veterans are also entitled to approach a judicial forum in the most convenient and affordable manner. AFTs by their locations as well scarcity in numbers are not suitable to the majority of service personnel and veterans. Thus it will be more prudent to allow service personnel and veterans to approach the well established and easily approachable civilian courts .A rethinking is required whether there is the need for AFTs at all.

manjinder said...

My Dear Navdeep,

I am glad you have put across the facts in such a frank and forthright manner. It is rather unfortunate that some of us consider ourselves to be know alls and refuse to even consult a few experts before airing our views on such important matters in public. I have seen that a large number of such articles lack research and are purely emotive and generally repetitive.

Chandra Nath said...

If Einstein says that light is a quantum and not a corpuscle or wave, I would instantly accept it with out wasting my time and energy checking whether Einstein is right or not.

Similarly, if a General says that we should attack by the right or the left, I would accept it with out spending my time and energy checking the correctness of the recommendation of the General. For all other subjects, I will approach the opinion with healthy skepticism and check and recheck. This includes AFSA, "rights of the citizen to life, liberty and property", human rights ... etc. because most of the Generals (and Admirals and Air Chief Marshals) tend to speak on subjects they have least training, exposure or understanding ( as evident from their vocabulary even). I am reminded of what Louis Brandeis the US Supreme Court Judge of repute said long back: “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.” But, I must also add
“[For people] to refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.” ― John Stuart Mill,

More importantly,
“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.” ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

Chandra Nath said...

Moreover
Of course some Generals would make fools of themselves by speaking with out real understanding and the greatest relief is that you do not have to argue much to disprove the nature of their claim or what they making themselves to be!

Also,
“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion... Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them...he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.” ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

So, refute the General with utmost vigor, which you have already done.

Kudos to you.

But, do not ask him to shut up even in the most tactful words.

Sandeep said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
There is a growing disenchantment amongst us about our own community, where we see officers reaching higher ranks through processes which are at times not very fair. And these senior officers on retirement, compete with each other to become a part of the AFT process, which leads some of us to doubt the credibilty of the AFT judgements.
However, entrusting this role to civilian reps, as you have pointed out in your blog, does not seem to be fool proof solution.
If as others have also pointed out, that getting the AFT away from the aegis of MoD and under the Law min, could possibly see some improvement in the tenor of judgements by the AFTs.
Please pardon my ignorance, but this seems more achievable than asking the Supreme Court to overturn the decision on exclusion of HC from the scope of litigants. Maybe we can fight our battles inch by inch, rather than the whole mile.
Nothing seems to come easy for the uniformed personnel and their kin in this country!!

sunlit said...

"...many instances wherein their subjective analysis (being from within the system) has hampered the process of law..."

Some may never, ever, be sure whether some such conditioned reasoning did not play a role in an AFT order that chose to justify the result of a discriminatory selection of an implementation date by focussing on, and stressing, the fact the act of discrimination was notified vide a Govt letter and hence could not be questioned.

To stretch the imagination a bit, one could try and imagine a trial of a firearms related case resulting in a judicial opinion that finds the person at the receiving end of a bullet not eligible for any compensation or relief as the bullet was discharged from a weapon that was manufactured to discharge just such bullets and was duly licensed to perform just such a purpose, irrespective of the fact it just happened to be wrongly directed at the hapless victim.

I don't know if that litigant had ever knocked on the doors of an Hon'ble High Court while he still had a chance.

Patriot said...

Shamelessly corrupt junior babus and some judicial officers are hell bent on weakening our first and last line of defense, our armed forces. Relentless attack on their morale is evident in all actions of MoD, OROP, CPC, litigations against rightful dues etc. Aren't we cutting the very same branch on which we are sitting? Who is benefitting from all this? We need to take a serious introspection.

What measures will H'ble SC put in place to ensure AFT will not make error in judgment of cases which in its opinion are not fit to be accepted at SC?

Chandra Nath said...



Does that mean General should not write on what ever he feels like and what ever the editors publish?

No.

UDHR says : Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
AFT appointed by MoD does not meet this because it is a departmental judicial body and not a court that meets the independence criteria..

To say that a military man may be denied " independent and impartial tribunal" of the status of a superior court ( HC and SC, SC because he may not get a hearing if the case does not involve a point of law) is real tragic and can not even stand a judicial review.

The fact that it is due to the pronouncement of a SC judge does not reduce the case for a " independent and impartial tribunal" .

Just think about it

Maj Navdeep is wrong in asking the General to not to write.

But, the General's arguments are not only not persuasive but lacks merit and bordering on ad hominem.

He did not counter Maj Navdeep's argument for two stages of appeal for higher court on record. We are NOT lesser citizens.

Anonymous said...

AFT can not be the first and the last court for the Faujies and the normal practice of three/ four tier Judicial reviews must be restored for faujies at par with their civilian brothers is amply driven home.

The honourable SC of India will listen to the logic as it effects a substantial portion of the population of India. It is a matter of equality of opportunity and fundamental rights under the Constitution of India and even the SC can not alter the fundamental nature of the constitution.

Take it up Navdeep.

Satyam ev Jayate said...

Major Navdeep,

You have an opinion backed by facts of one case cited but there is also the 6 year delay in the Maj Gen Vains case that followed the due process.

The Gen may wish to write his piece and as guaranteed by the Constitution has his right as much as you and I have the right to disagree. But asking him to stick to military matters presupposes that he is good at that, and presumably you are a better judge on him and military matters.

Just curious - why hasn't any one filed a Review Petition?

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

@Satyamev Jayte

Sir, Even your message pre-supposes that a 'review' has not been filed :)

General Vains' case has no link whatsoever with the issue at hand. But just for the sake of information, the famous case of Gen Vains' (on 5th CPC) which arose from the decision of the High Court was decided way back by a Dvision Bench of the HC in 2006 and the case was fully decided by the SC in 2008.

However the second case of General Vains (on 6th CPC) that was decided by the AFT in 2010 is still pending in the SC and it is 2015. The HC was not involved in that case.

My sharp rebuttal to the General emanates from the uncharitable comments by him against lawyers not just in his article but also in other communication made related to the article. As much as he (or you or I or anyone) has the right to express opinion, there is an equal right to reply, and it applies to all sides.

When I use the term military matters, I mean the matters of expertise. Legal complexities and broad-brushing of professions especially the profession of law or our Courts is not acceptable to me.

If I write an op-ed on tank technology, you could say the same about me.

Regards

Navdeep.

PS- I am most thankful to you and also express gratitude for digging into various issues concerning us through the power of RTI.

Anonymous said...



I was watching from the sidelines but I must join in.

I have disagreed with Navdeep quite a number of times, albeit in a civil manner, and I must admit that he has always published my comments even in cases of strong disagreement.

Being an ex-JAG officer of the IAF, I totally stand behind Navdeep in this issue.

What all of you who have disagreed on this point are forgetting is that this decision of SC has come on an appeal of the Ministry of Defence. It is NOT IN OUR FAVOUR. It would be too much of a thing to expect that the judgment is in our benefit when it has come on an appeal filed by MoD.

Now to the merits of the case. The Constitution gives a right to approach the HC to every citizen in case fundamental rights are infringed, how can that right be taken away from defence personnel or ex-servicemen?

The General who has written the above article clearly does not understand basic legal structure of the country and I agree with Navdeep that such a rebuttal was much required in order to ensure that we do not start commenting on issues which require expertise of people who work in that area. The comparison of a delayed criminal case with original jurisdiction of AFT over service matters is a giveaway of the author’s knowledge in this field. Navdeep’s resentment is also justified when you see the General’s article as a whole which condemns our ‘civil’ courts and says that Navdeep and others are concerned about ‘monetary’ aspects and not for veterans. If someone can say that Navdeep is not concerned about veterans then he is living on a different planet.

What I can gather from the last comment on which Navdeep has replied is that it has been made by a senior Air Force veteran under whom I have served and have great regard. But the Air Marshal has himself proved what Navdeep is trying to say. Maj Gen Bains case only took only two years from HC to SC since it was filed in HC since AFT was not in existence, and what about the similar case from AFT to SC filed again by General Bains? Please compare.

The myth that AFT is giving all decisions in favour of veterans also needs to be addressed by Navdeep in greater detail, maybe through a separate blog. The AFT has given judgments in favour of veterans no doubt but all those decisions are covered matters based upon earlier pronouncements by HCs and SC. Many decisions are made against defence personnel and ex-servicemen, I mean many many. And to expect them to approach SC with an additional requirement of proving general importance in terms of Section 31 of Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007, is stupid to say the least.

In brief, the power of a HC to issue writs under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is its inherent power and cannot be taken away by the virtue of Section 30/31 of AFT Act. It is only a matter of time that this draconian decision made on the plea of MoD would be revisited by the SC on lines of Chandrakumar judgment pertaining to CAT.

As on date my friends, you HAVE NO RIGHT OF APPEAL. Power of HC has gone and SC cannot interfere unless you can prove you have a case which shall affect the public at large. Jaago fauji jaago.






Satyam ev Jayate said...

@Major Navdeep,

You are right. I do not know a Review Petition has been filed because it is mentioned nowhere in the world wide web.

My thought process was not to draw a parallel to OA/625 of 2011 with Maj Gen Vains case. It is just that there are many cases in different courts and I have, I confess, never kept a track of them, simply because I do not know how to. In fact I request you to give us the case numbers so that we may read up.

The Gen is older than I am and perhaps as cranky as I am but you are younger, have wider exposure to life in the courts and therefore, hopefully more tolerant.

In my pursuit for facts, which are placed on the blog, I have tried my best to refrain from any subjective statement on the MoD, MoF or even the CGDA. I have read acidic comments - often telling me that I know next to nothing, but that is part of life.
Thanks for your imm reply. Wish you all the best, as I have always have.

Anonymous said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
If a Judge without Domain Knowledge is competent to Adjudicate (as pointed out by you in your rebuttal), A minister or Bureaucrat without domain knowledge is competent to Legislate and Administer, why cant the General express his opinion without domain knowledge?
I agree that he may be wrong on points,as brought out by you, but to deny him the very right to comment and write is perhaps not fair.
A whole lot of Indians express loud and voluble opinions about all manner of subjects (cricket, politics, defence, et al)in pvt, on social media, online and in public. Should we then deny a person the right to opinion? is this democratic because some people disagree?

Your comments please
Regards
Jo

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...



Folks, I am publishing the following comment as received:


QUOTES START:

“Navdeep brother, I am unable to post this as a comment, please do so for me, shall be grateful.

AK
-----

I was watching from the sidelines but I must join in.

I have disagreed with Navdeep quite a number of times, albeit in a civil manner, and I must admit that he has always published my comments even in cases of strong disagreement.

Being an ex-JAG officer of the IAF, I totally stand behind Navdeep in this issue.

What all of you who have disagreed on this point are forgetting is that this decision of SC has come on an appeal of the Ministry of Defence. It is NOT IN OUR FAVOUR. It would be too much of a thing to expect that the judgment is in our benefit when it has come on an appeal filed by MoD.

Now to the merits of the case. The Constitution gives a right to approach the HC to every citizen in case fundamental rights are infringed, how can that right be taken away from defence personnel or ex-servicemen?

The General who has written the above article clearly does not understand basic legal structure of the country and I agree with Navdeep that such a rebuttal was much required in order to ensure that we do not start commenting on issues which require expertise of people who work in that area. The comparison of a delayed criminal case with original jurisdiction of AFT over service matters is a giveaway of the author’s knowledge in this field. Navdeep’s resentment is also justified when you see the General’s article as a whole which condemns our ‘civil’ courts and says that Navdeep and others are concerned about ‘monetary’ aspects and not for veterans. If someone can say that Navdeep is not concerned about veterans then he is living on a different planet.

What I can gather from the last comment on which Navdeep has replied is that it has been made by a senior Air Force veteran under whom I have served and have great regard. But the Air Marshal has himself proved what Navdeep is trying to say. Maj Gen Bains case only took only two years from HC to SC since it was filed in HC since AFT was not in existence, and what about the similar case from AFT to SC filed again by General Bains? Please compare.

The myth that AFT is giving all decisions in favour of veterans also needs to be addressed by Navdeep in greater detail, maybe through a separate blog. The AFT has given judgments in favour of veterans no doubt but all those decisions are covered matters based upon earlier pronouncements by HCs and SC. Many decisions are made against defence personnel and ex-servicemen, I mean many many. And to expect them to approach SC with an additional requirement of proving general importance in terms of Section 31 of Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007, is stupid to say the least.

In brief, the power of a HC to issue writs under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is its inherent power and cannot be taken away by the virtue of Section 30/31 of AFT Act. It is only a matter of time that this draconian decision made on the plea of MoD would be revisited by the SC on lines of Chandrakumar judgment pertaining to CAT.

As on date my friends, you HAVE NO RIGHT OF APPEAL. Power of HC has gone and SC cannot interfere unless you can prove you have a case which shall affect the public at large. Jaago fauji jaago.”

QUOTES END.

(Note: The above is not my comment- Navdeep)

Chandra Nath said...

Sir,
Hats off to you, AK, for your well balanced comments.
".. you HAVE NO RIGHT OF APPEAL. Power of HC has gone and SC cannot interfere unless you can prove you have a case which shall affect the public at large. Jaago fauji jaago.”

The decision of SC can not stand a more thorough judicial scrutiny of the full bench. We are not lessen citizens.

This would even be violation of Human Rights UDHR : Article 10.

Satyam ev Jayate said...

@AK,

My comment, uninformed as it is, was that (1) any one can have his/her say, (2) it is the duty of the informed like your self and Maj Navdeep to enlighten the large number of "legally specially abled" like the General and myself, (3) there must be many, many cases that have taken longer traveling from the High Courts (like the Rank Pay Case of Maj Dhanapalan Vs UoI from 1996 to 2005 & UoI Vs Lt Col N K Nair & Others from 2007 and still being heard) than the Maj Gen Vains case travelling up the different judicial ladders, and (4) because the General made derogatory remarks does not justify "any eye for an eye" retaliation.

Anyway, every one has his/her opinion and his/her manner of dealing with affronts to profession. Maj Navdeep has exercised his and I, like many others have our piece to state for whatever little it is worth.

Thank you.

duplicatelarry said...

@Satyam ev Jayate : "...which are placed on the blog..."

I can see no posts in the blog.

The blog presents a notification of No Posts :-)

deepak sharma said...

Well analysed & presented a solid point of view which so called seniors by virtue of attaining high ranks automatically seem to inherit.They have the audacity to publicly display their superficial knowledge thinking yes-man ship shall continue to exist for ever for them.
Let me put it on record that it is solely because of a handful sane people like you one can sigh in relief if faced with some legal service matter.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navneet sir I do not feel me deserve to write a comment but a regular reader of your blog and a fan of you.l am working in Army detectected High BP in feb 2008 when I was in Bhopal. To my fortune all the recat boards (5 boards) remarked that my ailment aggravated due to military stress and strain including my in my first board. But unfortunately when my RMB is going on in CH(EC) , the board board president told me that I am not ellegible board pension as my disease was detected in a peace station and as I was posted in ciops 13 months before which exceeds 1 month of their crieteria.Sir the same board president just 1 month back in recat board mentioned my disease aggravated due to service stress.Further my document is pending for more than four months to sign only.Sir a no of lower rank personels documents is waiting for sign even after they have retired awaiting pension (due to commutation issue).SIr I do not know what to do.Sir I have done 24 years of service without any stain in my carrier.Sir you are like a masiha to us.I do not know you will get time to read this or not.But I have the only option as you.

Anonymous said...

Maj Navdeep Sigh, why have you not filed a PIL or so in the Supreme Court for directing the Govt to legislate the amendments to AFT act to en-power AFT with Contempt Powers as in the case of CAT to execute its Orders; and also to provide AFT with powers to Order for compensation similar to that of High Courts.

Till such time the amendments are passed and become Law, Supreme Court to en-power the AFTs with sufficient Contempt Powers by declaring that refusal to enforce Tribunal's Orders and Judgments in 'letter and spirit' comes under the ambit/ within the scope of interruption and disturbance of the proceedings of the AFTs because execution of the Orders of the Tribunal being the duty of AFTs under S29 read with Rule 25 - considering that the proceedings of the AFT continues until its orders are executed and implemented; and for this purpose AFTs' inherent powers are retained and AFTs have all the powers to enforce its Orders under Sections 29 and 19 read with Rule 25.

Another area is to give total independence to AFTs and liberate AFTs from the Administrative and financial powers of Min. of Defence in terms of appointment, transfer, extension of service of Members of AFTs etc; otherwise it is meaningless; because all cases in one form or other are against the Min of Defence.

Hope to hear from you on this, since the proposed amendments to en-power AFTs with Civil contempt power is pending in the Legislative stage after approval by the Standing committee for Defence Affairs for so long.