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Inter-Services Organisation (Command, Control & Discipline) Bill-2023

  • Published
    9th Aug, 2023
Context

Recently, the Inter-Services Organisation (Command, Control & Discipline) Bill-2023was passed by the Rajya Sabha.

About

About the Bill:

  • The Inter-services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023, was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 15, 2023.
  • The Bill seeks to empower the commander-in-chief or the officer-in-command of inter-services organisations in respect of service personnel who are subject to;
    • The Air Force Act, 1950
    • The Army Act, 1950
    • The Navy Act, 1957, and are serving under or attached to his command for the maintenance of discipline and proper discharge of their duties.

Need of such a Bill:

  • Currently, the commander-in-chief or the officer-in-command of inter-services organisations is not empowered to exercise disciplinary or administrative powers over personnel belonging to other services.
  • Only officers of the respective services are empowered to exercise disciplinary powers over the service personnel under their respective Service Acts.

Highlights of the Bill:

  • Inter-services Organisation: Existing Inter-services Organisations will be deemed to have been constituted under the Bill. These include the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the Defence Space Agency, and the National Defence Academy. 
    • The central government may constitute an Inter-services Organisation which has personnel belonging to at least two of the three services: the army, the navy, and the air force.
    • These may be placed under the command of an Officer-in-Command.
    • These organisations may also include a Joint Services Command, which may be placed under the command of a Commander-in-Chief.
  • Control of Inter-services Organisations: The Bill empowers the Commander-in-Chief or the Officer-in-Command of an Inter-services Organisation to exercise command and control over the personnel serving in or attached to it.
    • He would be responsible for maintaining discipline and ensuring proper discharge of duties by the service personnel.
  • The superintendence of an Inter-services Organisation will be vested in the central government.
    • The government may also issue directions to such organisations on grounds of national security, general administration, or public interest.
  • Other forces under central government: The central government may notify any force raised and maintained in India to which the Bill will apply. This would be in addition to army, navy, and air force personnel.

Significance of the Bill:

  • The Bill would pave the way for much greater integration and jointness among the three services and lay a strong foundation for creation of joint structures in times to come and further improve the functioning of the armed forces.
  • The Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill is part of a series of steps being taken by the government to strengthen the armed forces.

Who are eligible to get appointed as chief of Inter-services?

Commander-in-Chief:

  • The officers eligible to be appointed as the Commander-in-Chief or Officer-in-Command are:
    • A General Officer of the regular Army (above the rank of Brigadier),
    • A Flag Officer of the Navy (rank of Admiral of the Fleet, Admiral, Vice-Admiral, or Rear-Admiral), or
    • An Air Officer of the Air Force (above the rank of group captain).
  • He will be empowered to exercise all disciplinary and administrative powers vested in: (
    • General Officer Commanding the Army,
    • Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of a Naval Command,
    • Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of an Air Command,
    • Any other officer/authority specified in the service Acts, and (v) any other officer/authority notified by the government.

Commanding Officer:

  • The Bill provides for a Commanding Officer who will be in command of a unit, ship, or establishment. The officer will also perform duties assigned by the Commander-in-Chief or Officer-in-Command of the Inter-services Organisation. 
  • The Commanding Officer will be empowered to initiate all disciplinary or administrative actions over the personnel appointed, deputed, posted, or attached to that Inter-services Organisation.
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