What is moral courage? It is the ability to distinguish right from wrong and having so distinguished, be prepared to say so, irrespective of the views of your superiors or subordinates and consequences to you.
- Field Marshal Sam Mankekshaw
The phrase is the suspension of ordinary law and the rule of a country or part of it by military tribunals of its own Army is known as martial law. To put it another way, martial law is declared when the civil courts are unable to investigate the validity of the proclamation.
Establishment of Martial Court after 1950: In light of the country’s rapidly changing socio-economic conditions, growing awareness at all levels, and relief provided to service personnel in advanced countries around the world, it is strongly recommended that a court of appeal be established for members of the Armed Forces, particularly against court-martial verdicts. Such a measure would go a long way toward establishing confidence and transparency in the administration of military law at various levels.
Discipline, Morality, and Professional Integrity in the Indian Army:
In recent years, the soldier’s image has lost some of its lusters. There have been reports of a decline in the Army’s standards of discipline, morality, and professional integrity.
Troops have been shooting their superiors, and the country was outraged when one of the soldiers raped a woman. Have the Indian Army’s standards of discipline and morality slipped?
There has been an instance from the side of officers of senior ranks, when they hesitate to say no, when they are already aware that following orders could be disastrous to one’s lives, here straightforward morality is being questioned.
Soldiers’ essential principles should be protected at all costs. As of right now, things aren’t out of control. Pretending you don’t hear them or muting the sound won’t help address the problem; it will simply make it worse. The soldier is our last line of defense; let’s work together to keep him strong so that he can defend us whenever the time comes.
THE RIGHT TO LIFE AND PERSONAL LIBERTY UNDER ARMY ACT IS QUESTIONABLE:
It is rightly said that “All persons deprived of their liberty must be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”.
Practical difficulties faced in the Army:
- At the moment of arrest, the arrested individual is not given written notice of the offense and the grounds for his arrest.
- A first case inquiry is rarely finished in the stipulated 24-hour time frame.
- When someone commits a crime or is accused of a crime, he or she is immediately placed under house arrest without the benefit of a judge’s discretion.
- Complex cases are becoming more common, necessitating specialist advice on the ground that is not readily available in simpler ones.
Improvements required under Arrest of the defendant:
- There should be an investigation and disposition when the offense is minor.
- The right to privacy and dignity of the apprehended person must be respected at all times during searches.
- If a medical examination of the arrested person is required, it should be done immediately.
- Women should not be arrested between the hours of dusk and dawn.
JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL IN MANTLE OF A JUDGE:
It’s an alarming time that the need for an amendment is required in the Army Act so that the role of the judge will only be limited to the JAG officer as it is prevalent in the Military Justice systems of the UK and USA.
There is no doubt that the Judge Advocate General has a responsibility, however, criticizing the Judge Advocate for his or her all-powerful role may be in order. This would be in keeping with the oft-quoted proverb, “Justice must not only be done but appear to be done.”
It’s clear that the Army Act still has a long way to go. The rise in the number of grievance petitions submitted by disgruntled employees is a strong indication that immediate and effective action must be taken. Since more defense professionals are aware that court-martial judgments can be appealed, more lawsuits have been filed.
This is also because soldiers who believe they have been wronged believe that justice has been denied them and they were not heard by the court-martial due to this reason every second case has been sent to the high court and Supreme Court. The amendment is required as the matter relates to defense forces so that the discipline is not affected at all and the security of the nation is not compromised.
The law that applies to military personnel differs slightly from the one that applies to civilians. In article 33, the parliament has the authority to limit or even abolish the application of basic rights to the armed services.
As a result, military decisions are routinely deemed unconstitutional because they violate natural justice principles. The time has now arrived that the Military needs to have its Tribunals dealing with cases of the Army Forces personnel.
There is a question that arises in my mind the officers who are experts in protecting the borders and dealing with weaponry and fighting with our enemies are playing the role of Judges in the Court Martial and on the other hand they have no prior knowledge of the provisions of the sections and the benefit of the presence of an officer of JAG’s Dept is also not available.
If a branch already exists that is skilled and well-versed in the law, the responsibility of convening courts-martial should be delegated to them rather than placed on the shoulders of the regular force. The question of amending the Army Act has been pushed to the sidelines for far too long.
As the cases remain with Court Martial Tribunal there will be quality judgments as well as qualified persons which will assume the role of judge, there will be a fair trial.
The military judicial system saw significant developments over the twentieth century.
All forces, including the Indian Army, have a predisposition to maintain the status quo. Military leaders, on the other hand, must be cognizant of the times and conditions in which armies will be required to function in the future.
Armies now have a networked battlefield overview thanks to the change in military affairs. The military justice system’s ability to meet the demands of the civilians it is protecting will improve the sooner this reality is recognized.
MILITARY LAW OFFENCES AGAINST WOMEN:
One of the oldest branches of the Indian Army is the Judge Advocate Department Branch. Its motto is NYAYA AVE DHARMA (JUSTICE ALONE IS THE SUPREME DUTY).
It has been observed that the counsel given by the JAG throughout the trial is generally diplomatic, to say the least, which does not assist the members of the Court Martial in deciding how to handle an incidental question asked by the defense.
It is high time for the jag officers to highlight their points broadly, as our soldiers, commanders, etc expect frank and forthright advice from them.
One of the most burning issues which are somewhat kept aside is the violation happening. There have been offenses of various kinds committed against the military personnel towards the lady officers.
There has been a time that the policy letters have been issued to the Army personnel that how one should conduct himself to the women in the society.
Now there has been a question in your mind about y offenses against women in the Arm forces, my view is due to the gender bias in society.
The rule of law and the rule of life must be tightly linked. Because there is a widespread idea that Army troops are disciplined, they will not conduct crimes against their women, this is incorrect.
As in our constitution, it is already mentioned, that there will not be any discrimination based on sex, etc but still, discrimination is happening. A woman should be aware of her rights and all legal remedies available to her.
Does Disability Act apply to the Army Cadets?
The persons with Disabilities Act came into force on February 7th, 1996. This Act lays down that equal opportunity will be available in nation-building. There will be free education, and employment and there will be no discrimination.
The ‘Persons with Disabilities Act states that any government employee who is medically unfit for duty should continue to receive full pay, service benefits, pension, and other benefits, and should be rehabilitated according to his status, which means that anyone from a government peon to an IAS officer who is disabled does not have to worry about medical expenses or the future, and can continue to live. This act, however, has no bearing on Armed Forces Officers Cadets.
Even other faults, such as a recruit or trainee jawan, are entitled to full-service benefits, including ex-servicemen status if they become disabled, but not officer cadets. It is truly unfair and unjust.