Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT)

Armed Forces Tribunal is a military tribunal of India. It was established on 8th August 2009 and is a statutory body set up under the Armed Forces Tribunal Act 2007. The mandate, powers and functions of the Armed Forces Tribunal are important for UPSC 2021 preparation.

This article will provide you with relevant facts about the tribunal both for IAS Prelims and Mains. The topic ‘Armed Forces Tribunal’ comes under ‘Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies’ of UPSC Mains GS 2 Syllabus

IAS Exam aspirants can complement their preparation using the following links:

  1. Current Affairs
  2. Static GK
  3. Daily News Analysis (The Hindu)
  4. Government Schemes
  5. Best of PIB
  6. This Day in History

Important Facts about Armed Forces Tribunal

The exam-relevant facts about Armed Forces Tribunal are mentioned below:

  1. It is an Indian military tribunal.
  2. It is a statutory body. (Learn the difference between statutory and quasi-judicial bodies in the linked article.)
  3. The principal bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal is located in New Delhi.
  4. Armed Forces Tribunal has regional benches located in the cities mentioned below:
    • Chandigarh – Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh
    • Lucknow – Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand
    • Kolkata – West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and U.T. of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
    • Guwahati – North-East Region
    • Chennai – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Pondicherry
    • Kochi – Kerala, Karnataka and Lakshadweep
    • Mumbai – Maharashtra and Gujarat
    • Jaipur – Rajasthan
    • Jabalpur – Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
    • Jammu – Jammu and Kashmir
  5. Regional benches of Chandigarh and Lucknow have three benches each while the remaining have a single bench.
  6. The tribunal follows the procedure as is practised in the High Court of India; and for that Armed Forces Tribunal ( Procedure) rules, 2008 are followed by it.
  7. Only a retired SC judge or a retired Chief Justice of High Court can become the chairperson
  8. Paramilitary forces are not considered to be a part of the Armed Forces Tribunal jurisdiction

Aspirants should know about the important facts of Indian Judiciary. They are advised to go through the organs of Indian Judiciary from the links given below:

Supreme Court of India High Court of India
Supreme Court Judge List of High Courts in India
Important Judgments of Supreme Court Powers and Functions of high Court

Composition of the Armed Forces Tribunal

The tribunal is composed of:

  1. Judicial Members – They are the retired high court judges.
  2. Administrative Members – They are either retired members of the Armed Forces or a Judge Advocate General. The qualifications to be appointed as the administrative members of the Armed Forces Tribunal are:
    • For retirees from Armed Forces – Holder of a rank of Major General or an equivalent post or above for a period of three years or more.
    • For Judge Advocate General – Experience in the post for at least one year.
  3. The current organizational structure of the Armed Forces Tribunal (As of 30th November 2020) is:
    • Chairperson of Armed Forces Tribunal (Principal Bench) – Justice Rajendra Menon
    • Members – Justice Mrs Sunil Gupta, Lt.Gen. Phillip Campose, Air Marshal BBP Sinha, and Lt. Gen. PM Hariz

Note: There is a dress code for the members of the Armed Forces Tribunal:

  • White shirt
  • Collar band, and
  • Black coat/ jacket

There are other constitutional, statutory and quasi-judicial bodies in India. Read about them in the linked article.

Jurisdiction of Armed Forces Tribunal | Powers/Functions

  1. The Armed Forces Tribunal is empowered to adjudicate appeals against any order, decision, finding or sentence passed by a court-martial or any matter connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  2. The tribunal is empowered to grant bail to an accused who is in military custody. The bail so provided can be with or without conditions as the tribunal may decide.
  3. The circumstances for the tribunal to allow the appeal against court martial orders are:
    • The court martial findings are legally not sustainable.
    • The court martial findings include wrong decisions on questions of law.
    • Miscarriage of justice due to material irregularity.
  4. The Armed Forces Tribunal can take the following actions over the order of the court-martial:
    • Remit the whole sentence or a part of a sentence with or without conditions
    • Mitigate the awarded punishment
    • Commute the punishment to a lesser one or even enhance it.
    • Release the appellant on parole with or without conditions.
    • Suspend the sentence of imprisonment
    • Modify order as it thinks appropriate
  5. The Armed Forces Tribunal acts as a criminal court for the purposes of relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. (Know in detail about Criminal Courts in India in the linked article.)

Read about the powers and functions of various other tribunals of India from the links given below:

Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Inter-State Water Disputes Tribunal
National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) National Green Tribunal

Who can appeal before the Armed Forces Tribunal?

An aggrieved person by the court martial order, decision or finding can appeal before the Armed Forces Tribunal.


  1. The tribunal can also dismiss the appeal if the court martial findings are found to be justified.
  2. The tribunal can allow an appeal against conviction.
  3. Any appeal by a person against a decision given by the tribunal can only be taken up in the Supreme Court.

To know in detail about the Tribunals in India, read the linked article.

Frequently Asked Questions on Armed Forces Tribunal


Q 1. What is the Armed Forces Tribunal Act 2007?

Ans. The Armed Forces Tribunal Act 2007, was passed by the Parliament and led to the formation of AFT with the power provided for the adjudication or trial by Armed Forces Tribunal of disputes and complaints with respect to commission, appointments, enrolments and conditions of service in respect of persons subject to the Army Act, 1950, The Navy Act, 1957 and the Air Force Act, 1950.

Q 2. When was AFT established ?

Ans. Armed Forces Tribunal was established on August 8, 2009, and is a military tribunal of India.

Know about Indian Army with its related articles mentioned below:

Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) Army: Women in Commanding Role (RSTV)
Internal Security Forces in India List of Indian Army Exercises


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