HISTORY OF THE ARMED FORCES TRIBUNAL
REGIONAL BENCH, LUCKNOW
1. After independence, Defence Services Regulations were formulated as directives for functioning of all the three Services viz the Army, Air Force and Navy. These regulations contained rules relating to administrative as well as legal matters. Subsequently, Army Act 1950, Air Force Act 1950 and Navy Act 1957 came into force which amongst other legal provisions, delineated procedure for submission of statutory complaint against grievances relating to service matters and pre and post confirmation petition to various authorities against the findings and sentence of court martial.
2. Having regard to the fact that a large number of cases relating to service matters of the members of the three Services have been pending in the courts for quite a long time, the question of constituting an independent adjudicatory forum for the Armed Forces personnel had been engaging the attention of the Central Government for quite some time. In 1982, the Supreme Court in Lt. Col. Prithi Pal Singh Bedi vs Union of India, AIR 1982 SC 1413, held that the absence of even one appeal with power to review evidence, legal formulation, conclusion and adequacy or otherwise of punishment in the laws relating to the Armed Forces was a distressing and glaring lacuna and urged the Government to take steps to provide at least one judicial review in service matters. The Estimates Committee of the Parliament in their 19th Report presented to the Lok Sabha on 20th August 1992, had desired that the Government should constitute an independent statutory board or Tribunal for the service personnel.
3. The Armed Forces Tribunal Bill having been passed by both the Houses of Parliament received the assent of the President on 20th December 2007. It came on the Statute Book as THE ARMED FORCES TRIBUNAL ACT, 2007 (55 of 2007). The said act came into effect on 15th June 2008 vide Government of India Gazette Notification No S.R.O. 14(E) dated 13th June 2008. The Armed Forces Tribunal has its Principal Bench at New Delhi and eight Regional Benches spread across the country. The Tribunal has 15 courts in all with three Benches each at New Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow and one each at Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Kochi. Her Excellency Smt. Pratibha Devi Patil, the President of India inaugurated the Principal Bench of the Tribunal at New Delhi on 8th August 2009.
4. The Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench, Lucknow located at 3 Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg, Lucknow, came into effect on 9th November 2009 vide Government of India Gazette Notification No S.R.O. 116(E). Hon'ble Mr Justice CK Prasad, Chief Justice, Allahabad High Court inaugurated the Bench on 7th November 2009 in the presence of Hon'ble Mr. Justice AK Mathur, Chairperson, Armed Forces Tribunal. The Regional Bench has jurisdiction over the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chhattishgarh.