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Armed Forces Tribunal: Principal bench begins hearing for regional benches through video conferencing

Chairperson of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) Principal bench Justice Rajendra Menon inaugurated hearings by video conferencing for all ten Regional Benches of the Armed Forces Tribunal

The Principal Bench of Armed Forces Tribunal is the only court that has been conducting physical hearings since June 8
The Principal Bench of Armed Forces Tribunal is the only court that has been conducting physical hearings since June 8
  • The Principal Bench of Armed Forces Tribunal is the only court that has been conducting physical hearings since June 8

  • August 26 onwards the bench begins hearing for regional benches through video conferencing

New Delhi: (Defence News) Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) Chairperson Justice Rajendra Menon has inaugurated hearings through video conferencing for all ten Regional Benches of the Armed Forces Tribunal in the capital on Wednesday amid COVID-19 unlock process. The Principal Bench of Armed Forces Tribunal is the only court that has been conducting physical hearings since June 8, 2020. Physical hearings are being conducted at Principal Bench taking into account hardships and limitations faced by Armed Forces personnel, retired as well as serving, primarily due to their far flung locations and various security related issues.

Chairperson Justice Rajendra Menon gave all the credit of incident free hearings to the Principal Registrar Dr Rakesh Kumar who has been advising on the ways to maintain impeccable hygiene standards at the Principal Bench. In order to maintain highest standards of hygiene the court premises are being sanitised twice daily by the AFT employees only. This practice had begun prior to declaring of nationwide lockdown. Entry to the court premises is also kept to bare minimum with proper social distancing and without compromising on the smooth work flow. The advocates appearing in the AFT are separated by a transparent sheet, from the judges and proper social distancing is maintained between court staff and judges.

Also read: Indian Army's 2-day internal seminar on disruptive technologies and future wars concludes
 
For a total of eleven benches of AFT, which includes Principal Bench and ten Regional Benches spread all over the country, 34 judicial and administrative members have been sanctioned by the Government. However, only four members are presently in the chair at Principal Bench, one judicial member and two administrative members are in the chair at Chandigarh, Mumbai and Chennai Benches respectively.

Even though the urgent applications of Regional Benches were being heard at Principal Bench, the requirement was felt to devise a procedure for hearing other matters of Regional Benches as well. Accordingly, a viable procedure for virtual hearings has been initiated.

With this provision of hearing by video conferencing, an immense relief has been brought to the Armed Forces personnel, whose applications are awaiting justice at various Regional Benches. Member Judicial Justice Mohammad Tahir and Members Administration Vice Admiral P Murugesan (Retd) & Lt Gen CA Krishnan (Retd) shall hear applications of the Regional Benches through video conferencing.

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