The Judge Advocate General (JAG) Department, the judicial and legal wing of the Army responsible for dispensation of justice to all ranks celebrated its 32nd Corps Day on 21st Dec. It was on this day in 1949 wherein the Bill for the Army Act was introduced in the Parliament.
The Corps Day celebration commenced with wreath laying by the Adjutant General, Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma and Judge Advocate General Maj Gen Rajinder Kumar at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate.
A Symposium on “The Military Justice Conundrum – Justice or Discipline” was organised by JAG’s Department at South Block wherein the Supreme Court Judge Hon’ble Justice AK Sikri gave a very elucidating and thought provoking address which focused on the need of discipline in the Military as well as the inevitability of dispensation of quick and fair justice. He stressed that justice demands discipline though not at the cost of discipline. He prescribed that procedures have to be followed, adding that the fairness of the action taken by Military Courts was however open to Judicial Scrutiny.
The symposium was also addressed by Gen Dalbir Singh, the Chief of Army Staff, who deliberated on the difference in Civil and Military Judicial systems while highlighting the need to realize that the powers vested in commanders need to be exercised judiciously while ensuring trust and fairness for subordinates. The Symposium was also attended by Lt Gen MMS Rai, the VCOAS, Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma, the Adjutant General who is also Colonel Commandant of JAG Department and other senior Military Officers and civilian dignitaries.
In the message on the occasion, the Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice TS Thakur appreciated the role of the Army in preserving high standards of discipline and observed that the Nation reposes great faith in the Armed Forces. He exhorted the Department to rededicate themselves to their motto “Nayaya Eva Dharma”, (Justice alone is Supreme Duty). On the occasion, Gen Dalbir Singh, the Chief of Army Staff, also lauded their contribution to the cause of justice and extended his good wishes.
The JAG Department, which deals with disciplinary and litigation cases is handling varied legal issues of the Army. This Dept is actively involved in assisting all ranks in observing Human Rights and the rule of law. Pertinently, the origin and evolution of JAG Department is closely linked with the evolution of Military Law in England and traces its history to British “Article of War-1385”. Its origin in India goes back to 1841. Brig (Justice) DM Sen (Retd) was the first Indian JAG after independence.