Working towards creation of theatre commands, Defence Ministry has introduced a bill in Lok Sabha to give disciplinary powers to commanders of tri services organisations over all the personnel from all three forces serving under them.
The bill – Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023 – also states that the central government may “by notification, constitute an Inter-services Organisation, which may include a Joint Services Command, comprising of units or service personnel who are subject to any of the Service Acts, as may be placed under the command of the Commander-in-Chief or, as the case may be, the Officer-in-Command.
” The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on Wednesday by Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt amid din. It has been introduced at a time in Parliament when the Defence Ministry is working on the creation of theatre commands to tackle threats in changing security environment. The post of Chief of Defence Staff has been created to work in this direction. 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 and the Navy Act, 1957, who are serving under or attached to his command, for the maintenance of discipline and proper discharge of their duties” and for related matters.
The bill also states the Commander-in-Chief or, as the case may be, Officer-in-Command of an Inter-services Organisation, shall be the head of such Inter-services Organisation and shall exercise command and control over the personnel serving in or attached to that Inter-services Organisation, for the purpose of maintenance of discipline and proper discharge of their duties. CDS Gen Anil Chauhan has been working with the three services chiefs to create the operational tri- services organisations or theatre commands to strengthen the forces to fight future battles.
He has been briefing top brass of the government on the work being done in the direction of improving jointness and increasing integration among the forces as directed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The bill was introduced amid din over demand of BJP members for apology from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remarks in London and the opposition’s demand for a JPC probe in Adani-Hindenburg row.
The statement of the objects and reasons of the bill states that a need arises to empower the Commander-in-Chief and Officer-inCommand of the Inter-services Organisations to exercise control over the service personnel serving under or attached under their command, for maintenance of discipline and proper discharge of their duties,without disturbing the unique service conditions or amending the Service Acts. The bill is an enabling legislation, which empowers the Heads of the Inter-services Organisations to exercise effective command, control and discipline on all personnel of regular Air Force, Army and Navy and to persons of other forces as notified by the Central Government, who are serving in or attached to an Inter-services Organisation, without amending the respective Acts.