Sunday, February 6, 2011
Armed Forces Tribunal throws up its hands
New Delhi: The Armed Forces Tribunal, New Delhi, has expressed its anguish over lack of powers to get its orders executed. Many a time it has found itself helpless as its orders are not being implemented by authorities, said the Tribunal.In a brief order, the Tribunal, comprising Chairperson Justice A.K. Mathur and M.L. Naidu, said it had issued notice to all authorities including the Defence Secretary but to no avail. “The orders are at the mercy of the authorities; if they wish, they can execute and if they do not wish, they may not. This is a serious thing which has already been taken up with the government, but without any result.” No provision in Act
The Tribunal said: “We feel that we are handicapped because we do not have powers to issue civil contempt to get the orders of the Tribunal executed. It is sad that the power of civil contempt has not been given in the Armed Forces Tribunal Act. It may be an error or omission or may be deliberate… We feel helpless in the matters.”The only power to prosecute a person for criminal contempt had been given under Section 19.
“It is a very strange state of affairs and we are sorry to say that we cannot help the petitioner [in this case in which the order passed on January 25, 2010 has not been implemented so far].”
The Tribunal had ordered the Army to reinstate Fayaz Khan, after quashing a summary court martial that dismissed him from service as a religious teacher in 25 Rajput Regiment on charges of having links with Islamic terror groups.
Pointing out that the lack of civil contempt power was greatly hampering its functioning, the Tribunal said a recommendation had been sent to the government for making an amendment in the Act. The Tribunal granted leave to the petitioner to approach the Supreme Court, which could give proper directions to make it functional and effective
Online edition of India's National Newspaper