The Government has introduced the Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023, in Lok Sabha to strengthen tri-services commanders’ powers.
The Bill seeks to empower the Commander-in-Chief or the Officer-in Command of Inter-Services Organisations in respect of service personnel to maintain discipline and properly discharge their duties. Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt introduced the Bill in the Lower House of Parliament on March 15.
The new draft law will provide disciplinary powers to the commander heading tri-services organisations, such as theatre commands.
The ‘Theatre commands’ are expected to be announced soon and entail having a single commander leading the men and officers from the three armed forces.
This Bill is considered part of a long-awaited reform, especially after the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) appointment. The Bill aims to empower the Commander-in-Chief or the Officer-in-Command of Inter-Services Organisations with respect to service personnel, sources said.
The personnel of the Indian Air Force, Army and Navy are governed under the Air Force Act 1950, the Army Act 1950, and the Navy Act 1957, respectively.
Once the Bill is passed and the new law is enacted, all personnel serving in tri-services organisations will be governed by the commander of the organisation for the maintenance of discipline.
At present, officers and men posted to tri-services organisations face disciplinary proceedings, if any, under their respective service Acts, which can vary in terms of the quantum of punishment. Also, the tri-service commander has no role in the administration of justice against any of his subordinates.