On August 8, the Inter-Services Organization (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill-2023 was approved by Parliament, with the Rajya Sabha passing it on the same day and the Lok Sabha on August 4.
The Bill empowers the heads of inter-service organizations to exercise disciplinary and administrative control over the personnel under their command.
The bill aims to further strengthen the tradition of discipline in the armed forces. The Bill provides for enhanced disciplinary and administrative powers to the heads of inter-service organisations.
The Bill will also apply to all personnel of the Army, Navy and Air Force and personnel of other forces of the Central Government who are serving in an inter-services organisation.
The Bill seeks to empower the Commander-in-Chief or Officer-in-Command of Inter-Services Organizations to act. Disciplinary or administrative control over service personnel under him, irrespective of their service. Key features of the Bill include:
The existing Inter-Services Organizations shall be deemed to have been constituted under the Bill. These include the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the Defense Space Agency and the National Defense Academy.
The Central Government may constitute an Inter-Services Organization consisting of personnel belonging to at least two of the three Services: Army, Navy and Air Force. These may be placed under an officer-in-command. These organizations may also include a joint service command, which may be placed under the command of a Commander-in-Chief.
Control of Inter-Services Organisations:
At present, the Commander-in-Chief or Officer-in-Command of Inter-Services Organizations is not empowered to exercise disciplinary or administrative powers over personnel belonging to other Services.
The Bill empowers the Commander-in-Chief or Officer-in-Command of an inter-services organization to exercise command and control over personnel serving in or attached to it. They will be responsible for maintaining discipline and ensuring proper discharge of duties by the service personnel.
The superintendence of an Inter-Services Organization shall be vested in the Central Government. The government can also issue directions to such organizations on grounds of national security, general administration or public interest.
Other forces under the Central Government:
The Central Government may notify any force established and operating in India to which this Bill shall apply. This will be in addition to the personnel of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Officers eligible to be appointed as Commander-in-Chief or Officer-in-Command are:
A general officer (above the rank of brigadier) of the regular army,
A flag naval officer (of the rank of admiral, admiral, vice-admiral, or rear-admiral of the fleet), or
An Air Officer (above the rank of Group Captain) of the Air Force.
They will have the right to exercise all disciplinary and administrative powers vested in him:
Army General Officer Commanding,
Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Naval Command,
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief.
Any other officer/authority specified in the Service Acts, and
Any other officer/ authority notified by the Government.
The Bill provides for a commanding officer who will command a unit, ship or establishment. The officer will also perform such duties as may be assigned by the Commander-in-Chief or Officer-in-Command of the Inter-Services Organisation.
The Commanding Officer shall have the authority to initiate all disciplinary or administrative action against personnel appointed, deputed, posted or attached to that Inter-Services Organisation.