Attachment of property spurs MoD to act

CHANDIGARH: The imminent attachment of properties of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and salaries of the ministry’s functionaries have apparently spurred the MoD to implement the long-pending orders passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal in a large number of cases.

editorial@tribune.com

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25

The imminent attachment of properties of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and salaries of the ministry’s functionaries have apparently spurred the MoD to implement the long-pending orders passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal in a large number of cases.

The implementation orders in about 250 cases were placed before the Chandigarh Bench of the Tribunal today in petitions pending for non-execution of its judgments, some of which date back to 4 years. All judgments pertained to grant of benefits to disabled and war-disabled soldiers.

While passing such strong orders for the first time in a bunch of execution petitions last month, a bench headed by Justice SS Thakur made it clear that the Tribunal would be taking coercive action and invoking the powers of execution under Order 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) to get those orders executed which had not been implemented by the MoD.

Last year, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had, in an order passed in a public interest litigation titled Maj Navdeep Singh versus Union of India, made it clear that the AFT could invoke provisions of Order 21 of the CPC to get its orders implemented.

Order 21 provides for both detention and attachment of property of judgment debtors. It was brought to the notice of the High Court that “keeping the implementation of judicial orders in suspended animation was an affront to the majesty of law which the Tribunal was duty-bound to protect and was also against the grain of judicial dignity”.

Many ex-servicemen organisations as well as legal practitioners had repeatedly complained to the Defence Ministry in the recent past regarding the contemptuous behaviour of the MoD in not showing due regard to orders of the AFT and for not implementing the same. More than 70 per cent cases pending before the Chandigarh Bench pertain to non-execution of orders, lawyers said.

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