The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) got its third judge on Monday, with justice Surinder Singh Thakur, who retired from Himachal Pradesh (HP) high court in 2013, holding its third court.
The post had been vacant since justice Rajesh Chandra retired a year ago. Only two benches under justices Vinod Kumar Ahuja and Prakash Krishan had been operating since then.
The Chandigarh AFT has the highest number of pending cases, about 6,000, in the country, as confirmed by its registrar.
Most of the cases are execution petitions as defense authorities have not been complying with the AFT orders. The Punjab and Haryana high court had ruled in May last year that the AFT could use powers given in civil procedure code, providing for arrest and attachment if the orders are not complied with. Even the Kerala high court had ruled in 2010 that non-compliance of the AFT orders amount to interference in administration of justice and criminal contempt. However, the AFT has not been using these powers.
The Chandigarh bench has jurisdiction over Jammu and Kashmir, HP, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
Who is Justice Thakur?
· Justice Thakur, 63, graduated from Panjab University and did his law from Meerut University in 1973.
· He practiced in civil, criminal and revenue matters in the HP high court and district courts for about 16 years.
· He was selected as additional district and sessions judge in January, 1990, and has been posted in Shimla, Hamirpur, Mandi and Solan districts.
· He was appointed as law secretary-cum- legal remembrance to the HP government in February 1997 and worked within the post till May, 1999.
· Thereafter, he was posted as the registrar (vigilance) in the HP high court till May, 2002.
· He remained appellate transport authority under the Motor Vehicles Act and was also a member of appellate authority of copy right board of India.
· He was elevated as a judge of the high court in 2006, from which he retired on September 23, 2013.