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Report No. 169

4.4. Brief survey of the Army Act, 1950.-

The Army Act, enacted in the year 1950, contains as many as 16 Chapters. Chapter VI sets out the various offences and chapter VII sets out the punishments. We are, however, concerned only with the provisions contained in Chapters X, XI and XII which deal with courts martial, procedure of courts martial and confirmation and revision, respectively. Chapter X comprises sections 108 to 127. Section 108 provides for four kinds of courts-martial, namely, general courts-martial, districts courts-martial, summary general courts-martial and summary courts-martial. The other provisions in the chapter provide for convening of the various kinds of courts martial, their powers and other incidental matters.

4.4.1. Chapter XI comprises sections 128 to 152. As the title of the Chapter itself indicates, these sections prescribe the procedure to be followed by court martial.

4.4.2. Chapter XII comprising sections 153 to 165, provides for confirmation and revision of the orders of court martial. Section 153 says that no finding or sentence of a general, district or summary general court-martial shall be valid except so far as it may be confirmed as provided by Act. (The finding and sentence of a summary court martial, however, is not required to be confirmed and it can be carried out forthwith as provided in section 161.

Of course, the very section provides an exception to the said rule viz. if the officer holding the trial is of less than five years service, he shall not, except on active service, carry into effect any sentence until it has received the approval of an officer commanding not less than a brigade.) Section 160 provides for revision of a finding or sentence recorded by the court-martial. It says any finding or sentence of a court martial which requires confirmation may be once revised by order of the confirming authority and on such revisions, the Court if so directed by the confirming authority, may take additional evidence".

Section 163 provides that even where the finding of guilty by a court martial has been confirmed or where such a finding does not require confirmation, is found for any reason to be invalied or not supported by evidence, the authority competent to commute the punishment under section 179 may substitute a new finding and pass a sentence for the offence specified or involved in such finding. Section 164 provides for confirmation and the remedy for the persons against whom a finding or sentence of the court martial has been confirmed. It would be appropriate to reproduce section 164 in its entirely:

"164. Remedy, against order, finding or sentence of court-martial.---(1) Any person subject to this Act who considers himself aggrieved by any order passed by any court-martial may present a petition to the officer or authority empowered to confirm any finding or sentence of such court-martial, and the confirming authority may take such steps as may be considered necessary to satisfy itself as to the correctness, legality or propriety of the order passed or as to the regularity of any proceeding to which the order relates.

(2) Any person subject to this Act who considers himself aggrieved by a finding or sentence of any court-martial which has been confirmed, may present a petition to the Central Government, the Chief of the Army Staff or any prescribed officer superior in command to the one who confirmed such finding or sentence, and the Central Government, the Chief of the Army Staff or other officer, as the case may be, may pass such order thereon as it or he thinks fit."

4.4.3. Section 165 empowers the Central Government, the Chief of the Army Staff or any prescribed officer to annual the proceedings of any court martial on the ground that they are illegal or unjust.



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