Advocate Navdeep Singh of Punjab and Haryana High Court has been appointed to the five-member Military Justice Advisory Committee constituted by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Singh is the founder President of the Armed Forces Tribunal Bar Association at Chandigarh and is very actively involved in issues relating to soldiers’ rights and tribunalisation.
Singh is also a former Major and has been a national service volunteer-reservist with the Territorial Army in the past. He has voluntarily served in counter-insurgency and operational areas during the vacation period of the High Court.
He was member of the High Level Committee of Experts constituted by the Defence Minister on directions of the Prime Minister in 2015 to reduce litigation initiated by the Ministry of Defence and to strengthen the system of redressal of grievances.
He was also a part of the Yale Draft and is an International Fellow with the National Institute of Military Justice, Washington DC, and International Society for Military Law and the Law of War, Brussels.
The other four members of the Committee are Judge Alan Large ( current Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the United Kingdom), Professor Eugene Fidell (Yale Law School) Chief Judge Kevin Riordan (Judge Advocate General, New Zealand) and Dr Michelle Nel (University of Stellenbosch)
The Commonwealth is an international body that comprises 56 nations and promotes democracy, good governance, peace and the rule of law.
The Committee, under the aegis of the Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform (OCCJR) would deal with requests from member countries for assisting them in military justice reform and other related requests such as legislative transformation.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is also considering working upon model military justice principles.
There have been earlier strides in the field of military justice, prominent amongst them being the United Nations Principles Governing the Administration of Justice Through Military Tribunals (known as ‘the Decaux Principles’) which were further improved upon at a meeting held at the Yale Law School attended by global jurists and UN representatives in March 2018 resulting in the Yale Draft. The focus of the principles has been on ensuring independence, competence and impartiality of military justice processes.