New Delhi, Dec 6: The Parliament today passed the Armed Forces Tribunal Bill and the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill 2007. The Armed Forces Tribunal Bill envisages setting up a tribunal to adjudicate disputes and complaints of Armed Forces with respect to commission, appointments, enrolment and conditions of service.
The Bill had to be discussed in the Lok Sabha, but due to vociferous protest by members against the demolition of the Babri Masjid 15 years ago on this day, it was put to vote by Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal and passed. The Rajya Sabha passed the Bill last week.
The proposed Armed Forces Tribunal will be "independent" with benches in all major regions of the country. Government can appoint judicial members to the body.
The Bill also provides for appeals arising out of orders, findings or sentences of court-martial held under the Army Act,1950, the Navy Act,1957 and the Air Force Act,1950.
At present, there are over 9000 cases of Armed Forces pending before various courts in the country, while 125 matters are pending before the Supreme Court. The tribunal is expected to be at par with High Courts and civil courts will cease to have jurisdiction over service matters once the mechanism is put in place.
Another Bill, the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill 2007, passed today will ensure that elderly people are taken care of by their children failing which they would face penal action.
Children who abandon parents in their twilight years, may face three months' imprisonment and cannot even appeal against the punishment.
"The penal provision is meant to act as a deterrent," Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Meira Kumar, told Rajya Sabha.
The Rajya Sabha passed Bill by a voice vote. The Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.
The Bill also has a provision for establishment of old-age homes.