More than a year after the Armed Forces Tribunal Act came into force, the government on Monday constituted a tribunal for the speedy disposal of over 9,800 cases filed by service personnel in various high courts in the country.
Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur was appointed the chairman of the tribunal which will also have 14 judicial and 15 administrative members.
"The judicial members are either serving or retired high court judges. All appointments to the tribunal were made in consultation with the chief justice of India. The administrative members shall be officers of the rank of Major-General or above in the army or equivalent rank in the navy and the air force with three years of service in that rank," an official in the defence ministry said.
"The members would serve for four years from the date of assumption of post. The tribunal has powers to punish for contempt," the official added.
The Armed Forces Tribunal Act was passed during the winter session parliament in 2007 and received the president's assent Dec 25, 2007. The act provides for adjudication or trial of disputes and complaints by the tribunal with respect to commission, appointments, enrolment and conditions of service in for service personnel.
The tribunal will also hear appeals arising out of orders, findings or sentences of court martial. According to the officials, the principal bench in the national capital and benches in Chandigarh and Lucknow will have three courts each.
The Chandigarh bench will have jurisdiction over Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. The Lucknow bench will have jurisdiction over Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Kolkata, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai and Jaipur beches will have one court each.
The Kolkata bench will have jurisdiction over West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The Guwahati bench will have jurisdiction over Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
The Mumbai bench will have jurisdiction over Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat.
The Kochi bench will have jurisdiction over Kerala and Karnataka and the Chennai bench will look after Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
The Jaipur bench will have jurisdiction over Rajasthan.