Armed Force Tribunal deals with service matters in relation to the persons
subject to the Army Act. 1950, the Navy Act 1957 and the Air Force Act 1950.
The service matters include:
- Remuneration (including allowances), pension and other retirement
- tenure, including commission, appointment, enrolment, probation,
confirmation, seniority, training, promotion, reversion, premature
retirement, superannuation, termination of service and penal deductions;
- summary disposal and trials where the punishment of dismissal is
- any other matter, whatsoever, but shall not include matters relating to:
- orders issued under section 18 of the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950),
sub-section (1) of section 15 of the Navy Act, 1957 (62 of 1957) and section
18 of the Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950); and
- transfers and postings including the change of place or unit on posting
whether individually or as a part of unit, formation or ship in relation to
the persons subject to the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), the Navy Act, 1957
(62 of 1957) and the Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950).
- leave of any kind;
- Summary Court Martial except where the punishment is of dismissal or
imprisonment for more than three months;
Vide Section 30-31 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, appellate mechanism is
defined. The sections read as under:
30. Appeal to the Supreme Court:
- Subject to the provisions of section 31, an appeal shall lie to the
Supreme Court against the final decision or order of the Tribunal (other
than an order passed under section 19):
Provided that such appeal is preferred within a period of ninety days of the
said decision or order:
Provided further that there shall be no appeal against an interlocutory order of
- An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court as of right from any order or
decision of the Tribunal in the exercise of its jurisdiction to punish for
contempt: Provided that an appeal under this sub-section shall be filed in
the Supreme Court within sixty days from the date of the order appealed
- Pending any appeal under sub-section (2), the Supreme Court may order
- the execution of the punishment or the order appealed against be
- if the appellant is in confinement, he be released on bail:
Provided that where an appellant satisfies the Tribunal that he intends to
prefer an appeal, the Tribunal may also exercise any of the powers conferred
under clause (a) or clause (b), as the case may be.
31. Leave to appeal
- An appeal to the Supreme Court shall lie with the leave of the Tribunal;
and such leave shall not be granted unless it is certified by the Tribunal
that a point of law of general public importance is involved in the
decision, or it appears to the Supreme Court that the point is one which
ought to be considered by that Court.
- An application to the Tribunal for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court
shall be made within a period of thirty days beginning with the date of the
decision of the Tribunal and an application to the Supreme Court for leave
shall be made within a period of thirty days beginning with the date on
which the application for leave is refused by the Tribunal.
- An appeal shall be treated as pending until any application for leave to
appeal is disposed of and if leave to appeal is granted, until the appeal is
disposed of; and an application for leave to appeal shall be treated as
disposed of at the expiration of the time within which it might have been
made, but it is not made within that time.
Clearly the appeal lies to the Supreme Court from the decisions of Armed Forces
Tribunal and that too only if the Tribunal certifies that a point of law of
'general public importance' is involved.
The Supreme Court held in Union of India vs Parmeshwar Dass on 21 Mar 2023, that
generally maximum cases pertain to pension matters and it would be tough to
iterate that a larger public interest would be involved in an individual's
pension matter. And to deny review under Article 226 of the Constitution of
India would be against the basic structure doctrine.
Thus, overruling its own judgement of 2015, the Supreme Court allowed the
petitions to High Courts under Article 226 against the decisions of the Armed
Thus aggrieved service personnel have now liberty and an option to seek remedy
at High Courts before going to Supreme Court.
The advantages are numerous such as proximity of High Court to the aggrieved
service personnel, professional fees of High Court counsel, one more ladder
before the decision becomes final etc.
Written By: Ritesh Dhir