NEW DELHI: The bill that seeks to empower military commanders of tri-service organisations with full administrative and disciplinary powers, and will pave the way for creation of integrated theatre commands (ITCs) in the coming months, was passed by the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh said the Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control & Discipline) Bill, 2023 is an “important step towards integration and jointness in the three wings of our armed forces so that they will be able to face the challenges of the future in a united and integrated manner”. The bill, which does not include additional financial implications, is part of a series of reforms being undertaken by the Modi government to strengthen the armed forces and national security, Singh added.
The bill comes ahead of the impending move to establish three ITCs, where in each of them all the manpower and assets of the Army, Navy and IAF will be under the operational control of a single commander-in-chief. At present, military personnel are governed by their own service acts like the Air Force Act, 1950, the Army Act, 1950 and the Navy Act, 1957. Consequently, the commander of a tri-service establishment is not empowered to exercise disciplinary or administrative powers over personnel from other services.

The MoD said the bill’s enactment will have “tangible benefits” such as maintenance of effective discipline in inter-services organisations (ISOs), no requirement to revert personnel under disciplinary proceedings to their parent service, expeditious disposal of misdemeanour or indiscipline cases, and saving of public money and time by avoiding multiple proceedings.

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