Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill introduced in Rajya Sabha
New Delhi: A bill that seeks to empower the commander-in-chief and the officer-in-command of inter-services organisations with disciplinary and administrative powers over personnel from other forces serving in such establishments was introduced in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday amid a walkout by opposition members demanding a discussion on the Manipur issue.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh moved the Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023 for consideration when the Upper House of Parliament reassembled at 2 pm after three adjournments in the pre-lunch session.
Before that Pramod Tiwari of the Congress demanded a discussion on violence-hit Manipur and said the opposition would walk out if the same is not taken up.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said members of the INDIA bloc have walked out of Rajya Sabha due to the refusal of the Narendra Modi government to hold an immediate discussion on the Manipur issue.
The opposition members shouted that Prime Minster Narendra Modi must come to the House and make a statement on the matter.
When chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar did not yield to the demand, the opposition members walked out. Rajnath Singh then moved the Bill, which the Lok Sabha had passed last week, for consideration.
The Bill seeks to empower the commander-in-chief or the officer-in-command of inter-services organisations in respect of service personnel who are subject to the Air Force Act, 1950; the Army Act, 1950; and the Navy Act, 1957, who are serving under or attached to his command for the maintenance of discipline and proper discharge of their duties.
The Bill would pave the way for much greater integration and jointness among the three services and lay a strong foundation for creation of joint structures in times to come and further improve the functioning of the armed forces, Singh said.
A parliamentary panel had recently recommended that the Bill be passed without any amendments.
The Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill is part of a series of steps being taken by the government to strengthen the armed forces. It also empowers the central government to constitute an inter-services organisation.
As of now, personnel of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are governed in accordance with the provisions contained in their specific service Acts — the Army Act, 1950; the Navy Act, 1957; and the Air Force Act, 1950.
At the time of enactment of these respective Acts, most of the service organisations largely comprised personnel from a single service — either the Army, Navy or the Air Force. However, now there are numerous inter-services organisations where personnel of the armed forces and other forces serve together.
Currently, the commander-in-chief or the officer-in-command of inter-services organisations is not empowered to exercise disciplinary or administrative powers over personnel belonging to other services.
Only officers of the respective services are empowered to exercise disciplinary powers over the service personnel under their respective Service Acts.
The officers serving in these organisations need to be reverted to their respective parent service units for exercising any disciplinary or administrative action which results in delays.