Daily Current Affairs 23 Dec 2019

What is Court Marshal


What is Court Marshal?

Along with bravery in the army, the thing that is most needed is discipline.

To make any operation successful by the army, it is very important to follow discipline.  When a soldier or officer breaks the rules, he is punished according to his crime.  One of these punishments is the court martial sentence.

The Indian Army has three main wings;

1).  Army

2).  Navy and

3) Air Force.

These three armies have different rules.  These three parts of the army have their own different participation in the war against a country.

Let us know about the court martial in this article;

It is known that the Indian Army is still following the system of military justice made by the British, although Britain has changed it.  There was no system like court martial before the Revolt of 1857 in India, but after this rebellion, army court was established to increase discipline in the army and the commandant of the army was empowered to punish the person who broke the law.

What is a court martial?

Court martial to be done in the Army is done according to the Army Act, 1950.  In this, court martial is not done in cases of rape, murder and culpable homicide as such cases are handed over to the civil police, although the army also investigates on its own.  But if the Army wants to take such matters in its hands in Jammu and Kashmir or the Northeast, there is a provision for sentencing the accused by speedy trial. Major Gogoi in Jammu and Kashmir has faced court martial due to indiscipline and now he would be sentenced soon.

The Indian Air Force is governed by the Air Force Act, 1950 and the procedure of court martial is determined by it whereas the Indian Navy is governed by the Naval Act, 1957 and the process of court martial against any naval personnel is completed under the same  law.

Court martial is done for an offense  under the following conditions;

  1. When the person is in service
  2. be outside India
  3. Be on the border (run away from the border etc.)

Court martial is a kind of court.  Which is meant for special army employees.  Its job is to run a case, hear and sentence the army man who breaks discipline in the army or commits other crimes.  This trial takes place under military law.  This law provides for punishment for 70 such offenses.

There are mainly 4 types of court martial.  But in the three armies it is done under different laws.

  1. General Court Marshal: In this, all the soldiers from the jawan to the officer have the right to punish. In addition to the judge, there is a panel of 5 to 7 people.  This court can even give a convict a dismissal from military service, a life ban or a death sentence.  Also, there is a provision to hang military personnel who had left their posts during the war.  The same is done in the case of, and, in the same way, as in the case of a person.
  2. District Court Marshal: This court is for the JCO level from the constable in which 2 to 3 members meet together and hear. It carries a maximum sentence of 2 years.
  3. Summary General Court Marshal: For military personnel committing crimes in major field areas like Jammu and Kashmir. It comes very fast.
  4. Summary Court Marshal: In this, the case runs in the lowest type of military court. In this, the case of people with the rank of sepoy to NCO is heard and there is a provision for punishment of maximum 2 years.

The process of court martial is completed in three stages.

  1. Constitution of Court of Inquiry: In case of any offense or indiscipline in the army, the orders of the Court of Inquiry are first issued . The allegations made against the jawan or officer in the investigation are proved to be true and serious. If there is a case, the investigating officer can punish immediately. In case of big cases, the case is sent to the ‘Summary of Evidence’.
  2. Summary of evidence: In the preliminary inquiry, if the defect is proved, the competent officer conducts the investigation to gather more evidence for the case and if the evidence is found then there is also a provision to punish the accused immediately. During this time all legal documents are collected.  The Presiding Officer orders the immediate punishment or court martial.
  3. Court Martial: As soon as the process of court martial starts, the accused military officer or personnel is given the right to appoint a lawyer by giving a copy of the charge.

The conviction heard in the District Court Martial can be challenged in the Sessions Court.  At the same time, the decision pronounced in court martial can be challenged in the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) and finally the decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal can be challenged in the High Court.

What punishment can be given in a court martial (this sentence is fixed at the level of the crime)

  1. The accused’s job can be taken away as well as all the benefits he gets in the future such as ex-servicemen’s benefit, pension, canteen benefits can be eliminated.
  2. Punishments can include hanging, life imprisonment or for a fixed period of time, depending on the consistency of the crime.
  3. Promotion can be stopped, salary increment, the pension can be stopped. Allowances may be abolished and fines may be imposed.
  4. Rank can be reduced to lower rank and grade.

It is clear from the above facts that assembly has a very important place in all the three parts of the army.  If a soldier tries to break the discipline, he may have to undergo a terrible punishment like court martial.

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