Inter-services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill: Key Features
The Indian government has introduced a new bill titled ‘Inter-services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill’ in Lok Sabha. The legislation seeks to empower the Commander-in-Chief or the Officer-in-Command of the inter-services organizations to exercise control over all personnel serving under their command, including those belonging to different services. This will streamline disciplinary and administrative actions for personnel belonging to different services, ensuring expeditious disposal of cases and greater integration and jointmanship among the Armed Forces.
Empowering Inter-Services Organizations
The proposed bill proposes the empowerment of the the Heads of Inter-services Organizations to exercise effective command, control, and discipline over all personnel of the regular Air Force, Army, and Navy, including those serving in or attached to an Inter-services Organization, without amending the respective Acts.
This means that the Commander-in-Chief or the Officer-in-Command of the Inter-services Organizations will soon be able to exercise control over all personnel serving under their command, irrespective of their service affiliation. Presently, only officers of the respective services are empowered to exercise disciplinary powers over the service personnel under the respective Service Acts.
Constituting Inter-Services Organizations
The bill will also empower the central government to constitute Inter-services Organizations. Such organizations may include a joint services command comprising units or service personnel from the Air Force, Army, and Navy, which may be placed under the command of the Commander-in-Chief or the Officer-in-Command. The power under the bill will also be available to Inter-services Organizations constituted before the commencement of the new law.
Disciplinary and Administrative Actions
The current system of disciplinary and administrative actions for personnel belonging to different services is time-consuming and has financial implications related to the movement of personnel. When the proceedings arise from the same set of facts and circumstances but involve personnel belonging to different services, multiple sets of proceedings under the respective Service Acts are required to be initiated, which impedes expeditious disposal of cases, thereby affecting the standard of discipline.
However, the proposed bill will solve this problem, enabling the personnel serving in Inter-services Organizations to be governed by the Heads of Inter-services Organizations. The bill also provides that service personnel will continue to be governed by their respective Service Acts for the purposes of disciplinary or administrative action, if any, when serving in or attached to an Inter-services Organization.
Benefits of the Bill
The government says that the bill will pave the way for various tangible benefits such as expeditious disposal of cases, saving of time and public money by avoiding multiple proceedings, and greater integration and jointmanship among Armed Forces personnel. The bill will streamline the command, control, and discipline of Inter-services Organizations like the Andaman and Nicobar Command or Defence Space Agency and joint training establishments like the National Defence Academy or National Defence College.