The Union cabinet on Thursday approved the proposed amendments to the Armed Forces Tribunal Bill, 2005, that was pending in the Rajya Sabha.
With the amendments cleared, the tribunal is likely to become a reality, taking the load of cases related to the defence forces off the high courts.
At present, more than 9,300 such cases are pending in the high courts.
The bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in December 2005 after which it was referred to the Standing Committee on Defence.
The committee made 14 recommendations of which the ministry of defence has accepted five without changes and two with some modifications, sources said.
“The proposed amendments address major concerns, which emerged during deliberation on the draft bill,” finance minister P. Chidambaram said.
According to the bill, the tribunal would have the power to grant bail to the accused defence personnel in military custody, except those who are charged with offences punishable with death or life imprisonment.
According to the bill, the tribunal will headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a high court chief justice.
It will adjudicate on disputes relating to service matters and appeals arising out of verdicts of court martials.
But matters relating to transfers, postings and leave have been kept out of its purview.
An appeal against the tribunal’s order shall go to the Supreme Court.