OFFENCE RELATING TO ARMY, NAVY AND AIR FORCE

Author: sowmiya. R

College: tamilnadu Dr. ambedkar law university, (SOEL)



Chapter VII of Indian Penal Code which talks about offences relating to Army, Navy and

Airforce. 


INTRODUCTION :

Chapter VII of Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with offences committed by civilians in relation to

officers in Army, Navy and Airforce of the Government of India. The main objective of this

chapter is to maintain discipline and order in the Armed Forces of the Union. In across the globe

most of the countries defence personnels are governed by their own special laws .but they

commiting any serious offence (like murder) it will be tried by civil or criminal courts .the

military court doesn’t have the power to exercise the the jurisdiction if the offence committed by

civilians


The special laws which govern them in India are: 

  • The Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950);

  • The Indian Navy (Discipline) Act, 1934 (34 of 1934); and 

  • The Indian Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950).


OFFENCES RELATING TO THE ARMY, NAVY AND AIR FORCE 

The offences which are committed by civilians in relation to the Army, Navy and Air Force

governed by the Indian Penal Code which can be studied in the following manner:

The correlation between the offence punishable under this chapter and the offences punishable

by court martial under the Army Act, 1950 is as follows;—


  • Sections 131 and 132 of the Code punish abetment of mutiny and attempt to seduce

defence service personnel from duty. Mutiny, including any endeavour to seduce such

personnel from duty, is a capital offence under section 37 of the Army Act.

  • Sections 133 and 134 of the Code punish abetment of assault by any defence service

personnel on any superior officer. Such assault is punishable under section 40 of the

Army Act with imprisonment up to 14 years.

  • Sections 135 and 136 of the Code punish abetment of desertion and knowingly

harbouring a deserter. Deserting and aiding deserters are punishable in the case of army

personnel under section 38 of the Army Act with imprisonment up to 7 years.

  • Section 138 of the Code punishes abetment of an act of insubordination by a defence

service personnel. Such insubordination is punishable under section 42 of the Army Act

with seven years’ imprisonment.


ABETMENT OF MUTINY :


SECTION 131:- Abetting mutiny, or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor or

airman from his duty

Whoever abets the committing of mutiny by an officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army,

Navy or Air Force of the Government of India or attempts to seduce any such officer, soldier,

sailor or airman from his allegiance or his duty, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or

with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also

be liable to fine.


Explanations: Section 131, mentions that “officer”, “soldier”, “sailor” or “airman” will include

any person who is subject to the Army Act, 1950; the Indian Navy (Discipline) Act, 1934; the

Air Force Act, 1950. This explanation was not there originally and was inserted by an

amendment of Act 27 of 1870 and was amended by Act 10 of 1927.


SECTION 132:- Abetment of mutiny, if mutiny is committed in consequence

thereof

Whoever abets the committing of mutiny by an officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army,

Navy or Air Force of the Government of India, shall, if mutiny be committed in consequence of

that abetment, be punished with death or with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment of either

description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

section 132 makes such abetment, if mutiny be committed in consequence of that abetment,

punishable with death or with imprisonment for life or imprisonment of either description tip to

ten years. It would therefore appear that section 131 applies to cases where mutiny is not

committed in consequence of the abetment. Section 131 also makes any attempt to seduce any


defence service personnel from his allegiance or duty punishable with imprisonment for life or

imprisonment up to ten years.

ABETMENT OF ASSAULT :


SECTION 133:- Abetment of assault by soldier, sailor or airman on his

superior officer, when in execution of his office

Whoever abets an assault by an officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army, Navy or Air Force

of the Government of India, on any superior officer being in the execution of his office, shall be

punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years,

and shall also be liable to fine.


SECTION 134:- Abetment of such assault, if the assault committed

Whoever abets an assault by an officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army, Navy or Air Force

of the Government of India, on any superior officer being in the execution of his office, shall, if

such assault be committed in consequence of that abetment be punished with imprisonment of

either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Both sections 133 and 134 deal with abetment of assault by defence service personnel on any

superior officer being in the execution of his office, the former section presumably providing for

cases where such assault is not committed in pursuance of the abetment and the latter for cases

where the assault is so committed..


ABETMENT OF DESERTION:


SECTION 135:- Abetment of desertion of soldier, sailor or airman

Whoever, abets the desertion of any officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army, Navy or Air

Force of the Government of India, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for

a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.Differing from the previous

sections, section 135 does not distinguish between cases where the abetment of desertionis

successful and where it is unsuccessful. In either case, the maximum punishment prescribed in

section 135 is imprisonment of either description for two years. Under section 3 of the Army Act

and the corresponding sections of the Navy and Air

Force Acts, desertion while on active service is punishable with death and in other cases, with

seven years’ imprisonment.


SECTION 136:- Harbouring deserter

Whoever, except as here after excepted, knowing or having reason to believe that an officer,

soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army, Navy or Air Force of the Government of India, has

deserted, harbors such officer, soldier, sailor or airman, shall be punished with imprisonment of

either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine or with both.


Exceptions : This provision does not extend to the case in which the harbour is given by a wife

to her husband.

SECTION 137:- Deserter concealed on board merchant vessel through

negligence of master

The master or person in charge of a merchant vessel, on board of which any deserter from the

Army, Navy or Air Force of the Government of India is concealed, shall, though ignorant of such

concealment, be liable to a penalty not exceeding five hundred rupees, if he might have known of

such concealment but for some neglect of his duty as such master or person in charge, or but for

some want of discipline on board of the vessel.

SECTION 138:- Abetment of act of insubordination by soldier, sailor or airman

Whoever abets what he knows to be an act of insubordination by an officer, soldier, sailor or

airman, in the Army, Navy or air Force, of the Government of India, shall, if such act of

insubordination be committed in consequence of that abetment, be punished with imprisonment

of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

SECTION 137:-makes the master or person in charge or a merchant vessel, on

board of which any deserter is concealed, liable to a “penalty” not exceeding five hundred

rupees, even when he is ignorant of such concealment, if he might have known of such

concealment but for some neglect of duty on his part. It is curious that the section uses the word

“penalty” instead of the usual word “fine”. The object is presumably to debar the court

convicting the offender from imposing any sentence of imprisonment in default of payment of

the “penalty”.

Section 138 deals with abetment of an act of insubordination by an officer or member of the

armed forces, but only if the act of insubordination is committed in consequence of the abetment.

The section should also provide for cases where the act of insubordination is not committed in

consequence of the abetment. Considering that an act of insubordination is punishable with seven

years’ imprisonment under section 42 of the Army Act (and if such insubordination consists in

disobedience of a superior officer, punishable with fourteen years’ imprisonment). The

punishment provided in section 138 appears to be low.

SECTION 138A:- (Repealed) Application of foregoing sections to the Indian Marine

Service.

Rep. by the Amending Act, 1934 (35 of 1934), s. 2 and Sch.

SECTION 139:- Persons subject to certain Acts

No person subject to the Army Act, the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), the Naval Discipline Act,