SC Reinstates Right To Challenge Military Tribunal Orders In High Courts

The Supreme Court’ order of restoring access to justice for defence personnel and their families has come as a huge respite for thousands of military veterans and their families, who had to move the supreme court to challenge the AFT verdicts. This has made it clear that the verdicts of the Armed Forces Tribunals (AFT) can be challenged before the high courts now.

AFT Chandigarh Order Challenged in High Court
AFT Chandigarh Order Challenged in High Court

While deciding the case Balkrishna Ram Vs Union of India, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose, gave the order on Thursday. The restoration has made justice accessible and affordable.

The division bench stated that the remedy of direct appeal from AFT to the Supreme Court would be “extremely difficult and beyond the monetary reach of an ordinary litigant”. The bench alsostated that the writ jurisdiction of the high courts over the military tribunals cannot even be taken away by a legislative or constitutional amendment and therefore the 2015 judgment by a two judges bench cannot overrule the law which is already laid down.

On 11th March 2015, a Supreme Court bench gave the judgement that AFT verdicts could not be challenged before the high courts and an appeal against the AFT orders could only be filed before the apex court if a “point of law of general public importance” is involved. The order had all buttransformed the AFT into the first and last court for military litigants. However due to the orders passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), civilian litigants had the right to move appeals before the high courts and then the Supreme Court.

In a case, titled Navdeep Singh and related cases, Supreme Court had held that Article 226 of the Constitution does not restrict writ jurisdiction of the high courts over AFT, provided that the same can “neither be tampered with nor diluted.”

According to legal experts opinion restoration of jurisdiction of the high courts over AFTs has made justice accessible and affordable and has acted as a saviour for many litigants who were unable to approach the Supreme Court since their matters did not involve “general public importance.” Thecourt’s verdict has also diminished discrimination between civilian and military employees as far as accessibility is concerned and the Supreme Court is less likely to interfere in orders which arepassed by the division benches of the high courts than orders passed by the tribunals brought directly to the apex court.

For case specific advice, one can connect with Top/Expert AFT Chandigarh Chandimandir Bench Lawyer Advocate.

This post is written by Kashish Sandha. For info, call- 99888-17966.