This movie has all the ingredients of a thriller. An Army officer is accused of espionage and the commanding officer of his unit orders a probe. A court of inquiry is carried out by a group of officers, depicting tense courtroom moments.
But what separates this film from a commercial one is that it is meant for a niche audience — only Army officers.
The Institute of Military Law (IML) in Kamptee has come up with this hour-long film as part of a move to make officers aware of the legal proceedings in the forces.
According to sources, it is meant to “arrest anomalies that are committed by officials” who order various legal proceedings while dealing with aberrations within military units.
It depicts the legal procedures to be followed in case of court of inquiry, hearing of charge and summary of evidence, the sources said.
“Commanders of appropriate rank are empowered to dispose of the cases summarily, or convene/hold court martial as per the law. In this light, it is essential to judiciously exercise these powers and adhere to the laid down procedures. Thus, it is important that they know the procedures that are to be followed while carrying out these legal proceedings. And that is the reason we have created the film,” an officer belonging to the Judge Advocate General branch of the Army serving at IML told The Sunday Express.
A shift from the conventional monotonous documentaries used for training purposes, what makes the film interesting is the fact that all the actors in it are student officers from IML. “The various roles played in the movie are by student officers who attended the Middle Level Commanders and Staff Officers Law Course at IML. Acting in subject related to law was a mesmerising experience for these officers,” said an official reply from the IML.
Although the film has a script, it sticks to the legal proceedings rather than the fate of the accused officer. It leaves the officer’s fate open-ended — doesn’t tell if he is found guilty of spying or not.
Sources said the film, which has not been given a title “as it is meant for internal circulation”, will be sent to almost all Army units across the country for being viewed by the officers.
Created in collaboration with the Armed Forces Film and Photo Division, New Delhi, the film was released on July 31 by Lt Gen B S Sachar, Chief of Staff of the Army Training Command, headquartered in Shimla. A result of months of production and conceptualising efforts, it is IML’s only second such film. The first one, which was released in 2005, was based on court martial.
With a number of officers approaching courts seeking justice, IML said in a statement, “Although there is no alarming increase in disciplinary cases, a higher percentage of cases asserting rights are now being filed in the civil courts by serving personnel/ex-servicemen/civilians paid out of defense estimates… Considering the increased litigation before Armed Forces Tribunals, High Courts and the Supreme Court, the unit commanders are required to handle the disciplinary cases efficiently… and this film will help them to conduct the disciplinary proceedings flawlessly and judiciously following the legal procedures in accordance with provisions enshrined in Military Law.”
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