SC notice to govt on PIL on defense procurement

The petition, filed by a group of lawyers, asks the Supreme Court to issue directions to the Union government to phase out obsolete equipment being used by the armed forces.

sc01 (6) (221 x 131)The Supreme Court of India has asked the Union government to respond to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition that has questioned the state of defense equipment and the process of acquisition.

The Court issued notices to the respondents, last week, who include the three service chiefs, defense secretary, and finance secretary, to respond to the petition in four weeks.

The petitioners, a group of Supreme Court lawyers, have asked the court to order the phasing out of ‘all obsolete, malfunctioning, and outdated aging naval warships, submarines, arms, artilleries and other allied equipments/goods which are being used by the defense forces for saving the lives of officials and jawans of the arms forces who frequently became victims of unwarranted accidents which could have been prevented if action would have been taken in advance to remove obsolete equipments’.

Claiming that ‘India’s military is, literally, on the verge of breakdown’, they have also asked the Court to issue orders to the respondents to ‘prepare a clear, transparent and hassle free Scheme/ Guidelines for procuring arms, ammunitions, artilleries, front line warships, submarines and allied defense equipments and also for the manufacturing and producing same indigenously to ensure that the armed forces of the country should not suffer incapability in competing with other neighboring countries, on account of non availabilities of the aforesaid items’.

While mentioning the series of recent accidents suffered by the Indian Navy, Admiral DK Joshi’s resignation, allegations of misconduct in procurement and delayed acquisitions, the petitioners submitted that ‘the Armed Forces in India have became the slaves of several Defense Procurement Bodies, several Defense Procurement Procedure of 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, Defense Procurement Manual (running into 2000 pages), Indian Defense Offset Policy and the CVC guidelines etc. resulting into non procurement or manufacturing of any armament, ammunition, artilleries, frontline warships, submarines and allied defense equipments making the forces lame and non striking and encouraging the enemies, militants and terrorist encroaching Indian borders.’

Finally, the petitioners have asked the court to order the respondents to refrain from procuring ‘obsolete arms and other allied items which are being used by the armed forces in future’.

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