We're always looking for ways to make better. Have an idea? See something that needs fixing? Let us know!

India: Military Justice
Country Study > Chapter 10 > National Security > Organization and Equipment of the Armed Forces > Military Justice


The Manual of Military Law and Regulations spells out rules and procedures for the investigation, prosecution, and punishment of military offenses and crimes in the armed forces. Basic authority rests in the constitution, the Army Act of 1954, the Air Force Act of 1950, and the Navy Act of 1957.

The army and air force have three kinds of courts. They are, in descending order of power, the General Court, which conducts general courts-martial; the District Court; and the Summary General Court. Additionally, the army has a fourth kind of court, the Summary Court. Local commanding officers conduct this court with powers similar to nonjudicial punishment in the United States armed forces. The navy uses general courts-martial in addition to the nonjudicial powers established for commanders in the Navy Act.

Courts-martial can be convened by the prime minister, minister of defence, chief of staff of the service concerned, or other officers so designated by the ministry or the chief of staff. There are channels of appeal and stages of judicial review, although procedures differ among the three services.

Members of the armed forces remain subject concurrently to both civilian and military law, and criminal courts with appropriate jurisdictions assume priority over military courts in specific cases. With the approval of the government, a person convicted or acquitted by a court-martial can undergo retrial by a criminal court for the same offense and on the same evidence. Once tried by a civilian court, however, one cannot be tried by a military court for the same offense.

Each of the three services has its own judge advocate general's department, relatively free and independent of the other branches in the discharge of its judicial functions. The various departments have officers among the adjutant general's staff at army headquarters, in the chief of personnel's staff at navy headquarters, and in the administration staff of the air force headquarters.

Data as of September 1995

Last Updated: September 1995

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for India was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

India Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 358 of 374


Click any image to enlarge.

National Flag

(₨) Indian Rupee (INR)
Convert to Any Currency


Locator Map