Army on Friday launched a full fledged Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) at a Military Station in Jammu, winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar, Chief Justice of High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, inaugurated the full fledged Bench of the AFT at the Sunjuwan Military Station.
The ceremony was presided over by Justice B P Katakey, Officiating Chairperson, AFT, New Delhi.
The Government of India in the second phase has sanctioned two Regional Benches, one at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, which was notified on July 9, this year, and the Srinagar Bench at Jammu on November 17, a defence spokesman said. The Bench since then has functioned as a circuit Bench of Chandigarh Bench.
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The establishment of the full fledged Regional Bench has mitigated the problem relating to long journey to Chandigarh faced by the Armed Forces Personnel and their families, he added.
The official notification issued by the Ministry of Defence, under SRO 12(E), said: “In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (4) of section 5 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 (55 of 2007), the Central Government hereby notifies the Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal, Srinagar with effect from the 17th day of November, 2016, which shall have jurisdiction within the territorial limits of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.”
The Bench thanked the efforts of Jang Bahadur Singh Jamwal, Former Registrar of this Bench for his sincere and dedicated efforts to find the present building to house it. He worked like a one man army with no infrastructure except the active support of the local Army Station Commander and his dedicated staff, it said.
He liaised with the army authorities without whose cooperation, it would not have been possible to have the Bench functional on time. It is for the first time, in the history of the AFT that on the date of inauguration of the Bench, the free Legal Aid Clinic has been inaugurated.
Besides the Principal Bench in New Delhi, AFT has Regional Benches at Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Kochi, Mumbai and Jaipur.