Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the creation of a special human rights cell at the Army Headquarters. A special vigilance cell will also be set up under the Army Chief.
The Indian Army will now have a human rights cell, to be headed by an officer of the rank of Major General who will report to the vice chief. A special vigilance cell will also be set up under the Army chief, which will have representatives from the Navy and the Air Force. As part of these reforms, at least 206 officers, including 186 officers of the rank of lieutenant colonel, will be moved from the Army Headquarters to field areas.
“The proposals which have been approved are aimed at restructuring and reorganising the army headquarters to make the functioning of the service more efficient. Setting up separate bodies for a stringent mechanism (to deal with) human rights and corruption complaints in the armed forces are a welcome move,” an Army official averred.
The human rights cell has been set up to ensure that the Army adheres to human rights conventions and values. “To give high priority to observance of human rights convention and values, it has been decided to set up a special Human Rights Section headed by ADG (Major General rank officer). It will be the nodal point to examine any human rights violation reports. A Police officer of SSP/SP rank will be taken on deputation,” the defence ministry stated.
The independent vigilance cell that will investigate cases of corruption will be directly under the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS). The cell will have three colonel-level officers from the Army, Air Force and the Navy. The special vigilance cell under the army chief will have tri-service representation with three colonel-level officers — one each from the army, air force and the navy.