Statutory Law: When Are Civilian Employees Subject to Army/Air Force Act 1950
In India as in all armed forces civilian employees form a major part of the work force at military bases and air force repair depots and equipment depots. In the army the representation in static formations like commands and area head quarters as well as EME( Electric, Mechanical Engineering) repair work shops the complement of the civilian work force is pretty high and could be to the tune of 30%. In the Indian air force civilians form a small but significant part of the work force at air force bases. In equipment depots and base repair depots their numbers can be as high as 40%.
The question is whether these civilian employees are subject to the various Army and Air Force acts 1950 or not. Civilian employees are not subject to the various military acts, but are subject to their own Civil Classification, Control and Appeals rules 1965 ( CCA Rules). These rules lay down a procedure for punishment for offences under the IPC. A superior officer can initiate disciplinary action against a civilian employee. At a military and air force unit a superior officer can be the commanding officer and he is competent to initiate disciplinary action against a delinquent civilian employee. Thus the hold of the military is maintained over the civilian employees.
There is another provision in the Army act 1950 and the Air Force act 1950 when civilian employees can be subject to the Army and Air Force act 1950. As per chapter II section 151 all personnel will be subject to the Air Force act 1950 in case they are on active service. The term active service means when a state of emergency is declared or a frontier post is designated as under active service. This power to declare active service is with the Central Government. Thus all civilians after a notification is issued will be subject to the Army or Air Force act 1950 and will be deemed as combatants. All punishments as specified in the relevant army and air force act will be applicable including death or any lower punishment as decided by a court martial.
To obviate the presence of too many civilians the Government of India has now started recruiting a new class of workers who substitute all civilian employees. These are known as Non Combatants (enrolled) and are subject to Air Force or Army act from the day they join service. Thus the complement of civilian work force in Air Force and Army units is significantly reduced. NC (E) are however not enrolled in the work force at base repair depots and Equipment depots.