‘Joint Services Act will ease disciplinary, admin issues’

By Ayaskant Das

New Delhi, Oct 17 : A Joint Services Act should be instituted in India to cover administrative and disciplinary issues of all three armed forces, defence experts said on Thursday.

A single Act has been sought to replace individual acts that have been, for decades, governing the three different armed forces of India, resulting in lack of synergy amongst them.

The need for a Joint Services Act, experts told IANS, has been felt for a long time in line with the system adopted by most advanced militaries across the globe. The issue has been raised afresh during the ongoing Army Commanders Conference in New Delhi against the backdrop of the Central government’s decision to create the position of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) for the country.

The Indian Army is governed by the Army Act, 1950 while the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force also have their own acts, known respectively as the Navy Act, 1957 and the Air Force Act, 1950.

“Since each service has its own Act, in tri-service institutions, the chief does not have jurisdiction over officials belonging to services other than his own. It is a weak arrangement and creates disciplinary problems. Disciplinary and administrative issues of any official within a tri-service institution has to be dealt with the particular service commander to which that official belongs,” former Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff, Lt Gen Satish Dua (retd), told IANS.

In 2006, the British Parliament passed a law enacting the Armed Forces Act, 2006 overriding its three service discipline acts for the UK’s army, air force and navy.

Talks about a Joint Services Act for India have begun afresh after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the formation of the position of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) for the country during his Independence Day address earlier this year. The Act, it is expected, will synergize and co-ordinate the functioning between the three services before the first CDS of the country is appointed.

“The need for a Joint Services Act has been felt for a long time in India. Most militaries across the world are now governed by a single Act for all its services,” said former Director-General of Military Operations, Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (retd).

(Ayaskant Das can be contacted at ayaskant.d@ians.in)

/IANS

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