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Constitutional Rights Of Military Personnel

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Prior to commencement of research on a certain topic in any area, it is necessary to know the implication and significance of conducting the same in that specific area. It reflects the intent behind carrying out that research.

Today, almost 70 years after independence, things have changed in a lot many ways. Army repeatedly proved being an apolitical organization, attesting itself in both peacetime turmoil as well as time of war. In words of George Orwell; “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” Moreover, unlike many other countries, the spectre of takeover by the military doesn’t scare the political leaders in India, or at least it shouldn’t be, seeing the impeccable past record.

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Thus, no other organization should be more entitled to protection of their constitutional rights than the men risking their lives daily, to protect sovereignty of the country. It is not just a matter of gratitude that needs to be paid to those who dedicate their lives to the country, giving up their luxuries of life and fights against the extremes. But also, it becomes necessary to grant certain immunities to the Armed Forces in order to facilitate them in pursuing their duty of maintenance or restoration of order in any area within the country’s territory.

Enlightened democratic nations world over has rational and liberal rules in this regard. It is necessary to understand why a separate system of justice is needed, for recognizing the need for variance in the justice system for military personals. Quick decision making is a requisite for military functioning in modem war, and it cannot be achieved by a debating society.

The military has developed laws and traditions of its own. Many a times, a commander’s decisions are required to be enforced through his subordinates. The primary objective of the Armed Forces is to fight or be ready to fight lest the instance arises. The military constitutes a specialized community governed by its own laws. These laws extricate military offences like desertion, disobedience of orders and dereliction of duty, from civil offenses exclusively, keeping in mind the necessity for chastising such offences for ensuring discipline for achieving the primary objectives of military. No civilian law equivalent may be juxtaposed in parallel to explain the need for enforcing discipline. There arises a need for different legal status and procedures for the two. This calls for some special privileges and defenses to be granted to the military and armed forces in order to protect the actions taken by them in lieu of their duty to protect the sovereignty of the country, national security and to maintain order, peace and tranquility in the country. Thus, it is significant to study, why the state has to assure that these needs are catered by the constitution as well.

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