SC issues notice to government on challenging Armed Forces Tribunal decisions in HC
Moneylife Digital Team 03 August 2015
Giving a ray of hope to veterans, disabled soldiers and military widows, the Supreme Court had issued notices to the Central Government seeking reconsideration of the entire issue 
 
The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Central Government on a special leave petition (SLP) that seeks to reconsider restraint on accessing High Courts against orders passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT).
 
This gives a ray of hope to veterans, disabled soldiers and military widows whose writ petitions against orders of the AFT were recently disposed by High Courts finding their hands tied by a judgement of the Supreme Court.  
 
Earlier in March this year, the apex court held that orders of the AFT can not be challenged by affected parties before the High Courts. And the only remedy to challenge the same is before the Supreme Court by way of an appeal as provided in Sections 30 and 31 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007. 
 
Appearing for aggrieved litigants, Aishwarya Bhati and Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar submitted that the current state leaves litigants remediless against orders of the AFT because of the statutory bar of "general public importance" for approaching the SC.
 
It was pointed out that a similar controversy pertaining to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had been addressed by a seven judge Constitution Bench of the SC when it was ruled that the apex court could not become the first appellate court for such service matters and that challenges to Tribunal decisions would be heard by Division Benches of HCs. It was also submitted that it was a known legal proposition that all Tribunals being mere creations of the statute were subordinate to the writ jurisdiction of Constitutional High Courts.  
 
Many ex-servicemen and veteran organisations had written to the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister to intervene in the matter since the provisions of the AFT Act and the March 2015 decision of the SC had left them without any remedy when the AFT refused to grant them relief. 
 
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