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 to regulate administrative as well as legal matters. Subsequently, Army Act 1950, Air Force Act 1950 and Navy Act 1957came into force which amongst other legal provisions, delineated procedure for submission of statutory complaints against grievances relating to service matters and pre and post confirmation petitions 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 in the Lok Sabha on 20th August 1992, had recommended 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 force 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 ten Regional Benches spread across the country. The Tribunal has 17 Benches (courts) in all with three Benches each at Principal Bench New Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow and one each at Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Kochi Srinagar at Jammu and Jabalpur. 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, Permanent Regional Bench, Jabalpur and Srinagar (Jammu) were established by Government of India, Ministry of Defence, I.D No 5(5)/ 2010-D (AFTC)- Vol-II, dated 02nd November, 2015. The Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench Jabalpur now temporarily locates at 106, Bhagat Marg, Old Chief Engineer’s Office, Near Sadar Bazar, Jabalpur -482001 and was notified by the Government of India on 09th May 2016 in exercise of power s conferred by sub- section (4) of section 5 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act ,2007, vide Ministry of Defence notification No SRO. 02 (E), dated 03rd May, 2016 published in extra ordinary Gazette of India, Part II, Section -4 dated 03rd May 2016. The Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench, Jabalpur was inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rajendra Menon, The Acting chief Justice of the High Court of judicature of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur in the presence of Hon’ble Mr. Justice R.C. Mishra, the Acting Chairman of Armed Forces Tribunal. The Regional Bench, Jabalpur has jurisdiction within the territorial limits of the State of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
5. The Armed Forces personnel belonging to Army, Navy and Air Force (both serving and retired) including their dependants, heirs and successors aggrieved by an order pertaining to any service matter may make an application and aggrieved by an order decision findings or sentence of the court martial may prefer an appeal before the Armed Forces Tribunal.
6. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Amar Saran , Member (Judicial) and Hon’ble Lieutenant General (Retired) Narendra Bahadur Singh were appointed as Members in Regional Bench, Jabalpur . These Members joined the Regional Bench Jabalpur on 23rd November 2015. Mr. Saleem Ahmad Khan was appointed as Registrar and joined the Regional Bench, Jabalpur on 09th February, 2016.
7. The immediate challenge for the Members assisted by the Registrar was to hasten the establishment and functioning of Bench in the building temporarily provided by the Army authorities for housing the Regional Bench, at 106, Bhagat Marg, Old Chief Engineer’s Office, Near Sadar Bazar, Jabalpur Cantt as the building Nos T-57, T-59 and T-106/4 at Ridge Road Jabalpur Cantt earmarked for permanent setting up of Armed Forces Tribunal at Jabalpur require major/ special repairs. The temporarily accommodation of 106, Bhagat Marg, Old Chief Engineer’s Office, Jabalpur cant was carried out for minor repairs which took 2-3 month time. During that period meeting of Members and Registrar, Deputy Registrar with concerned authorities were taking place in a conference room provided by Station Workshop, EME at Jabalpur Cantt.
8. Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench Jabalpur was inaugurated on 09th May, 2016 without any supporting staff of its own. The supporting staff was temporarily provided from the Regional Bench Lucknow was soon withdrawn. The supporting staff of this Regional Bench was recruited on re-employment on contract basis and on deputation basis and they joined this tribunal on or before 01th July 2016. Then necessary furniture and other items necessary for functioning of Tribunal were procured or taken on loan from MES, Jabalpur. Then this tribunal could actually start its working from 01st July, 2016.
9. After joint inspection of the Building Nos T-57, T-59 and T-106/4 at Ridge Road Jabalpur Cantt done by the Members and Registrar of Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench Jabalpur as well as authorities of HQ MB Area and Garrison Engineer (East) Jabalpur Cantt it was observed that the buildings are almost in a dilapidated condition which required special repairs. A fresh AE was prepared and has been submitted to HQ MB Area (Q Branch) for necessary sanction. After sanction of budget by the Govt of India Special works will be carried out by the MES authorities. Then the Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench Jabalpur shall be shifted to its permanent location at T-57, T-59 and T-106/4 Ridge Road Jabalpur Cantt.
10. Hon’ble Justice Amar Saran, Member (Judicial) has inaugurated the website of Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench Jabalpur on 30 Oct 2017. Hon’ble Lt Gen N B Singh, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Member (Administrative), Saleem Ahmed Khan, Registrar, Shabana Ali Khan, Deputy Registrar, Major Gaurav Verma, OIC Legal Cell, HQ MB Area and Members of Bar Association and all other staff of Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench Jabalpur were present on the occasion.