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The latest edition of India Legal show discussed the present scenario pertaining to human rights of army personnel as well as of paramilitary forces in India. The panellists on the show concurred that human rights of forces are a sensitive issue as it involved lots of peculiarities and should be dealt with a humane approach.

Rajshri Rai, Editor-in-Chief, APN anchored the show. The panellists included:

  • Justice R B Misra, former Acting Chief Justice, Himachal Pradesh High Court
  • Justice B K Dixit, Chairman, Armed Forces Tribunal (Lucknow)
  • Abhishek Choudhary, PIL Activist
  • Rakesh Gogna, Secretary General, Human Rights Defence International
  • Hari Gopal Garg, IG (Retired), BSF
  • Puran Chand, former policy planner
  • Surendra Poonia, Major (Retd.)
  • Bhim Singh, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court
  • Pallav Sisodia, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court
  • Moti Sharma, Assistant Commandant (Retd.), CRPF

Rai started the debate by asking Chaudhary as to what prompted him to file a PIL asking for same benefits for paramilitary forces at par with armed forces.

Chaudhary replied: “This PIL has been filed taking into account all the aspects. It is more legal in nature than emotional. My main contention in the PIL was why only the jawans of Army, Navy and Air Force should be bestowed the status of matyrdom and other benefits attached to it. Why the paramilitary jawans have been left out from the status of martyrdom keeping in mind, that both die in the line of duty.”

Dealing with the rights of paramilitary jawans, Hari Gopal Garg pointed out: “Today, the main issue is whether the laws which were made 70 years ago should be reviewed or not. Are today’s circumstances the same as those of earlier? I think, in these forces, two to three things are necessary.

“One is their internal grievance system that should be effective. I think that is not effective. Another is, those laws should be reviewed. We should see that laws which govern armed forces and paramilitary forces should have some kind of balance.”

Echoing the same sentiments, Puran Chand said: “I have been associated with the welfare activities of paramilitary forces for 15 years. In this long duration, I have found that armed forces have been made for war and paramilitary forces have been formed for war-like situations.

“And in today’s times, war-like situation has been more in trend. So paramilitary forces are working day and night. In 2006, a Cabinet note was made and also put up but it has not been considered till today. I didn’t see any reason.”

Here are some of the bytes of the panellists:

Justice D P Singh

Justice R B Misra

Puran Chand

Hari Gopal Garg

Bhim Singh

Justice V K Dixit

Abhishek Chaudhary

—India Legal Bureau

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