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SC to hear PIL for fast supply of defence equipment

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday said that it will March 28 hear a PIL seeking directions to the government to expeditiously make available to defence sources equipments and spares as and when sought by the armed forces.

A bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice N.V.Ramana said that it will hear the plea March 28 after one of the two PIL petitioners advocate N. Rajaraman mentioned the matter before the court.

The PIL is rooted in the recent submarine incident INS Sindhuratna in which the lives of two young navy officers were lost.

Two lawyers, Subrata Das and Rajaraman, have petitioned the court to issue directions to the government to make available on time all equipment required to keep submarines and aircraft of the Indian Navy and other armed forces in safe and operational condition.

They have sought directions to the defence ministry to arrange the essential equipment and spares for the defence forces in the wake of recent incidents involving submarines that resulted in the death of navy personnel.

The advocates have said that they filed the petition after the death of two young navy officers due to the “failure of the defence ministry to provide proper replacements of the batteries sought by the navy command and vital for the safety of the INS Sindhuratna”.

The lives of the young servicemen could not be allowed to be “extinguished by the negligence of civilian administration (for its failure) to provide required replacements and repairs to the armed forces” in keeping the war machinery including submarines, aircraft and other weaponry in operational condition, their plea said.

The PIL contended that the right to life of servicemen was of utmost concern to the nation and could not be overlooked by officials in the defence ministry who “failed to maintain a proper inventory of the requirements of the armed forces” necessary for safe operation of the equipment for guarding the country.

The plea said the cover of “security reasons” could not be allowed to mask the failure of the defence ministry to look into the totality of the conditions under which the armed forces operate.