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THE AIR FORCE ACT, 1950

Title : THE AIR FORCE ACT, 1950

Year : 1950



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Shamefully abandons or delivers up any garrison, fortress, post, place or guard, committed to his charge, or which it is his duty to defend, or uses any means to compel or induce any commanding officer or other person to commit the said act; or

(b) Intentionally uses any means to compel or induce any person subject to military, naval or air force law to abstain from acting against the enemy, or to discourage such person from acting against the enemy: or

(c) In the presence of the enemy, shamefully casts away his arms, ammunition, tools or equipment or misbehaves in such manner as to show cowardice; or

(d) Treacherously holds correspondence with, or communicates intelligence to, the enemy or any person in arms against the Union; or

(e) Directly or indirectly assists the enemy with money, arms, ammunition, stores or supplies; or

(f) Treacherously or through cowardice sends a flag of truce to the enemy; or

(g) In time of war or during any air force operation, intentionally occasions a false alarm in action, camp or quarters or spreads reports calculated to create alarm or despondency; or

(h) In time of action leaves his commanding officer or his post, guard, piquet, patrol or party without being regularly relieved or without leave; or

(i) Having been made a prisoner of war, voluntarily serves with or aids the enemy; or

(j) Knowingly harbours or protects an enemy not being a prisoner; or

(k) Being a sentry in time of war or alarm, sleeps upon his post or is intoxicated; or

(l) Knowingly does any act calculated to imperil the success of the military, naval or air forces of India or any forces co-operating therewith or any part of such forces: or

(m) Treacherously or shamefully causes the capture or destruction by the enemy of any aircraft belonging to the Forces; or

(n) Treacherously uses any false air signal or alters or interferes with any air signal; or

(o) When ordered by his superior officer or otherwise under orders to carry out any air force operations, treacherously or shamefully fails to use his utmost exertions to carry such orders into effect;
shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer death or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Is taken prisoner, by want of due precaution, or through disobedience of orders, or willful neglect of duty, or having been taken prisoner, fails to rejoin his service when able to do so; or

(b) Without due authority holds correspondence with or
communicates intelligence to the enemy; or having come by the knowledge of any such correspondence or communication willfully omits to discover it immediately to his commanding or other superior officer; or

(c) Without due authority sends a flag of truce to the enemy; or

(d) Negligently causes the capture or destruction by the enemy of any aircraft belonging to the Government; or

(e) When ordered by his superior officer, or otherwise under orders to carry out any warlike operations in the air, negligently or through other default fails to use his utmost exertions to carry such orders into effect; shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Forces a safeguard, or forces or uses criminal force to a sentry; or

(b) Breaks into any house or other place in search of plunder; or

(c) Being a sentry sleeps upon his post, or is intoxicated; or

(d) Without orders from his superior officer leaves his guard, piquet, patrol or post; or

(e) Intentionally or through neglect occasions a false alarm in camp or quarters; or spreads reports calculated to create unnecessary alarm or despondency; or

(f) Makes known the parole, watchword or countersign to any person not entitled to receive it; or knowingly gives a parole, watchword or countersign different from what he received : or

(g) Without due authority alters or interferes with any air signal; shall, on conviction by court-martial,if he commits any such offence when on active service, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term, which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and if he commits any such offence when not on active service, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Begins, incites, causes, or conspires with any other persons to cause, any mutiny in the military, naval or air forces of India or any forces co-operating therewith; or

(b) Joins in any such mutiny; or

(c) Being present at any such mutiny; does not use his utmost endeavours to suppress the same; or

(d) Knowing or having reason to believe in the existence of any such mutiny, or of any intention to commit such mutiny or any such conspiracy, does not, without delay, give information thereof to his commanding or other superior officer; or

(e) Endeavours to seduce any person in the military, naval or air forces of India from his duty or allegiance to the Union; shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer death or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



(1)Any person subject to this Act who deserts or attempts to desert the service shall on conviction by court-martial, if he commits the offence on active service or when under orders for active service, be liable to suffer death or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and if he commits the offence under any other circumstances, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.

(2)Any person subject to this Act who knowingly harbours any such deserter shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.

(3)Any person subject to this Act who, being cognizant of any desertion or attempt at desertion of a person subject to this Act, does not forthwith give notice to his own or some other superior officer, or take any steps in his power to cause such person to be apprehended, shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Absents himself without leave; or

(b) Without sufficient cause overstays leave granted to him; or

(c) Being on leave of absence and, having received information from proper authority that any unit or detachment, to which he belongs, has been ordered on active service; fails, without sufficient cause, to re-join without delay; or

(d) Without sufficient cause fails to appear at the time fixed, at the parade or place appointed for exercise or duty; or

(e) When on parade, or on the line of march, without sufficient cause or without leave from his superior officer, quits the parade or line of march; or

(f) When in camp or elsewhere, is found beyond any limits fixed, or in any place prohibited, by any general, local or other order, without a pass or written leave from his superior officer; or

(g) Without leave from his superior officer or without due cause, absents himself from any school when duly ordered to attend there;
shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Uses criminal force to, or assaults his superior officer, or

(b) Uses threatening language to such officer; or

(c) Uses insubordinate language to such officer shall, or, conviction by court-martial,if such officer is at the time in the execution of his office or, if the offence is committed on active service, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and
in other cases, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned :

Provided
that in the case of an offence specified in clause (c), the imprisonment shall not exceed five years.



(1)Any person subject to this Act who disobeys in such manner as to show a willful defiance of authority any lawful command given personally by his superior officer in the execution of his office whether the same is given orally or in writing or by signal or otherwise shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.

(2)Any person subject to this Act who disobeys any lawful command given by his superior officer shall, on conviction by court-martial,
if he commits such offence when on active service, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and
if he commits such offence when not on active service, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Being concerned in any quarrel, affray or disorder, refuses to obey any officer, though, of interior rank, who orders him into arrest, or uses criminal force to or assaults any such officer; or

(b) Uses criminal force to, or assaults any person, whether subject to this Act or not, in whose custody he is lawfully placed, and whether he is or is no this superior officer; or

(c) Resists an escort whose duty it is to apprehend him or to have him in charge; or

(d) Breaks out of barracks, camp or quarters; or

(e) Neglects to obey any general, local or other order; or

(f) Impedes the provost-marshal or any person lawfully acting on his behalf or, when called upon, refuses to assist in the execution of his duty a provost-marshal or any person lawfully acting on his behalf; or

(g) Uses criminal force to or assaults any person bringing provisions or supplies to the Forces;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend, in the case at the offences specified in clauses(d) and (e) to two years, and in the case of the offences specified in the other clauses to ten years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Without having obtained a regular discharge from the Air Force or otherwise fulfilled the conditions enabling him to enroll or enter, enrolls himself in, or enters the said force or any part of the military or the naval forces of India; or

(b) Is concerned in the enrollment in any part of the Forces, of any person when he knows or has reason to believe such person to be so circumstanced that by enrolling he commits an offence against this Act;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person having become subject to this Act who is discovered to have made at the time of enrollment a willfully false answer to any question set forth in the prescribed form of enrollment which has been put to him by the enrolling officer before whom he appears for the purpose of being enrolled, shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any officer or warrant officer who behaves in a manner unbecoming his position and the character expected of him shall, on conviction by court-martial, if he is an officer, be liable to be cashiered or to suffer such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and if he is a warrant officer, be liable to be dismissed or to suffer such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to mis Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Is guilty of any disgraceful conduct of a cruel, indecent or unnatural kind; or

(b) Malingers, or feigns, or produces disease or infirmity in himself, or intentionally delays his cure or aggravates his disease or infirmity; or

(c) With intent to render himself or any other person unfit for service, voluntarily causes hurt to himself or that person;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any officer, warrant officer or non-commissioned officer, who uses criminal force to or otherwise ill-treats any person subject to this Act, being his subordinate in rank or position, shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



(1) Any person subject to this Act who is found in a state of intoxication, whether on duty or not, shall, on conviction by court-martial, if he is an officer, be liable to be cashiered or to suffer such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and if he is not an officer, be liable, subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.

(2) Where an offence of being intoxicated is committed by a person other than an officer when not on active service or not on duty, the period of imprisonment awarded shall not exceed six months.

Section 49 - Permitting escape of person in custody

Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) When in command of a guard, piquet, patrol or post; releases without proper authority, whether willfully or without reasonable excuse, any person committed to his charge or refuses to receive any prisoner or person so committed ; or

(b) Willfully or without reasonable excuse allows to escape any person who is committed to his charge or whom it is his duty to keep on guard;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable, if he has acted, willfully, to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and if he has not acted willfully, to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Unnecessarily detains a person in arrest or confinement without bringing him to trial, or fails to bring his case before the proper authority for investigation; or

(b) Having committed a person to air force custody fails without reasonable cause to deliver at the time of such committal, or as soon as practicable, and in any case within forty-eight hours thereafter, to the officer or other person into whose custody the person arrested is committed, an account in writing signed by himself of the offence with which the person so committed is charged;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who, being in lawful custody, escapes or attempts to escape shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Commits theft of any property belonging to the Government, or to any military, naval or air force mess, band or institution, or to any person subject to military, naval or air force law; or

(b) Dishonestly misappropriates or converts to his own use any such property; or

(c) Commits criminal breach of trust in respect of any such property; or

(d) Dishonestly receives or retains any such property in respect of which any of the offences under clauses (a), (b) and (c) has been committed, knowing or having reason to believe the commission of such offence; or

(e) Willfully destroys or injures any property of the Government entrusted to him; or

(f) Does any other thing with intent to defraud, or to cause wrongful gain to one person or wrongful loss to another person;
shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Commits extortion; or

(b) Without proper authority extracts from any person money, provisions or services.shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Makes away with or is concerned in making away with, any arms, ammunition, equipment, instruments, tools, clothing or any other thing being the property of the Government issued to him for his use or entrusted to him; or

(b) Loses by neglect anything mentioned in clause (a); or

(c) Sells, pawns, destroys or defaces any medal or decoration granted to him;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend, in the case of the offences specified in clause (a) to ten years and in the case of the offences specified in the other clauses to five years, or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Destroys or injures any property mentioned in clause (a) of section 54, or any property belonging to any military, naval or air force mess, band or institution, or to any person subject to military, naval or air force law, or serving with, or attached to, the Air Force, c;

(b) Commits any act which causes damage to, or destruction of, any property of the Govern¬ment by fire; or

(c) Kills, injures, makes away with, ill-treats or loses any animal entrusted to him;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable, if he has acted willfully, to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and if he has acted without reasonable excuse to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Makes a false accusation against any person subject to this Act, knowing or having reason to believe such accusation to be false; or

(b) In making a complaint under section 26 or section 27 makes any statement affecting the character of any person subject to this Act, knowing or having reason to believe such statement to be false, or knowingly and willfully suppresses any material facts,
shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) In any report, return, list, certificate; book or other document made or signed by him, or of the contents of which it is his duty to ascertain the accuracy, knowingly makes, or is privy to the making of, any false or fraudulent statement; or

(b) In any document of the description mentioned in clause (a) knowingly makes, or is privy to the making of, any omission, with intent to defraud; or

(c) Knowingly and. with intent to injure any person, or knowingly and with intent to defraud, suppresses, defaces, alters or makes away with any document which it is his duty to preserve or produce; or

(d) Where it is his official duty to make a declaration respecting any matter knowingly makes a false declaration; or

(e) Obtains for himself, or for any other person, any pension, allowance or other advantage or privilege by a statement which is false, and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, or by making or using a false entry in any book or record, or by making any document containing a false statement, or by omitting to make a true entry or document containing a true statement;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) When signing any document relating to pay, arms, ammunition, equipment, clothing, supplies or stores, or any property of the Government fraudulently leaves in blank any material part for which his signature is a voucher; or

(b) Refuses or by culpable neglect omits to make or send a report or return which it is his duty to make or send;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Being duly summoned or ordered to attend as a witness before a court- martial, willfully or without reasonable excuse, makes default in attending; or

(b) Refuses to take an oath or make an affirmation legally required by a court-martial to be taken or made; or

(c) Refuses to produce, or deliver any document in his power or control legally required by a court-martial to be produced or delivered by him; or

(d) Refuses when a witness to answer any question which he is by law bound to answer; or

(e) Is guilty of contempt of court-martial by using insulting or threatening language, or by causing any interruption or disturbance in the proceedings of such Court;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who, having been duly sworn or affirmed before any court-martial or other Court competent under this Act to administer an oath or affirmation, makes any statement which is false, and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any officer, warrant officer or non-commissioned officer who, having received the pay of a person subject to this Act unlawfully detains or refuses to pay the same when due, shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Willfully or without reasonable excuse damages, destroys or loses any aircraft or aircraft material belonging to the Government; or

(b) Is guilty of any act or neglect likely to cause such damage, destruction or loss; or

(c) Without lawful authority disposes of any aircraft or aircraft material belonging to the Government; or

(d) Is guilty of any act or neglect in flying, or in the use of any aircraft, or in relation to any aircraft or aircraft material, which causes or is likely to cause loss of life or bodily injury to any person; or

(e) During a state of war, willfully and without proper occasion; or negligently causes the sequestration, by or under the authority of a neutral State, or the destruction in a neutral State, of any aircraft belonging to the Government;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable, if he has acted willfully, to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned, and, in any other case, to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Signs any certificate in relation to an aircraft material belonging to the Government without ensuring the accuracy thereof; or

(b) Being the pilot of an aircraft belonging to the Government, flies it at a height less than such height as may be specified by1[the Chief of the Air Staff], except while taking off or landing, or in such other circumstances as may be specified by1*[the Chief of the Air Staff); or

(c) Being the pilot of an aircraft belonging to the Government, flies it so as to cause, or to be likely to cause, unnecessary annoyance to any person;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.

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1. Substituted for the words "the Commander-in-Chief" by the Commanders-in-Chief (Change in Designation) Act (19 of 1955), S. 2 and Sch. (7-5-1955).

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Any person subject to this Act who, whatever his rank, commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) While he is in an aircraft disobeys any lawful command given by the captain of the aircraft, whether such captain is subject to this Act or not, as respects all matters relating to the flying or handling of the aircraft, or affecting the safety thereof; or

(b) Being the captain of a glider aircraft towed by another aircraft disobeys any lawful command given by the captain of the towing aircraft, whether the latter is subject to this Act or not, as respects all matters aforesaid;shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who is guilty of any act or omission which though not specified in this Act, is prejudicial to good order and air force discipline shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,-

(a) Being in command at any post or on the march, and receiving a complaint that any one under this command has beaten or otherwise maltreated or oppressed any person, or has disturbed any fair or market or committed any riot or trespass, fails to have due reparation made to the injured person or to report the case to the proper authority; or

(b) By defiling any place of worship, or otherwise, intentionally insults the religion or wounds the religious feelings of any person; or

(c) Attempts to commit suicide, and in such attempt does any act towards the commission of such offence; or

(d) Being below the rank of warrant officer, when off duty, appears, without proper authority, in or about camp or contonments, or in or about or when going to or returning from, any town or bazar, carrying a rifle, sword or other offensive weapon; or

(e) Directly or indirectly accepts or obtains; or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain, for himself offer any other person, any gratification, as a motive or reward for procuring the enrolment of any person or leave of absence, promotion or any other advantage or indulgence for any person in the service; or

(f) Commits any offence against the property or person of any inhabitant of, or resident in, the country in which he is serving;
shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in sections 34 to 66 inclusive and in such attempt does any act towards the commission of the offence shall, on conviction by court-martial, where no express provision is made by this Act for the punishment of such attempt, be liable,
if the offence attempted to be committed is punishable with death, to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and
if the offence attempted to be committed is punishable with imprisonment, to suffer impris¬onment for a term which may extend to one-half of the longest term provided for that offence or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.
 


Any person subject to this Act who abets the commission of any of the offences specified in sections 34 to 66 inclusive, shall, on conviction by court-martial, if the Act abetted is committed in consequence of the abetment and no express provision is made by this Act for the punishment of such abetment, be liable to suffer the punishment provided for that offence or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person sub-ject to this Act who abets the commission of any of the offences punishable with death under sections 34, 37 and sub-section (1) of section 38 shall, on conviction by court-martial, if that offence be not committed in consequence of the abetment, and no express provision is made by this Act for the punishment of such abetment, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Any person subject to this Act who abets the commission of any of the offences specified in sections 34 to 66 inclusive and punishable with imprisonment shall, on conviction by court-martial, if that offence be not committed in consequence of the abetment and no express provision is made by this Act for the punishment of such abetment, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to one-half of the longest term provided for that offence or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



Subject to the provisions of section 72, any person subject to this Act who at any place in or beyond India commits any civil offence shall be deemed to be guilty of an offence against this Act and, if charged therewith under this section shall be liable to be tried by a court-martial and, on conviction, be punishable as follows, that is to say,-

(a) If the offence is one which would be punishable under any law in force in India with death or with transportation, he shall be liable to suffer any punishment, other than whipping, assigned for the offence, by the aforesaid law and such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and

(b) In any other case, he shall be liable to suffer any punishment other than whipping "assigned for the offence by any law in force in India, or imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.



A person subject to this Act who commits an offence of murder against a person not subject to military, naval or air force law, or of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against such a person or of rape in relation to such a person shall not be deemed to be guilty of an offence against this Act and shall not be tried by a court-martial, unless he commits any of the said offences.-

(a) While on active service, or

(b) At any place outside India, or

(c) At a frontier post specified by the said Government by notification in this behalf.

Explanation.- [Omitted by the Air Force and Army Laws (Amendment) Act (13 of 1975), S. 2 (29-3-1975).]

Last updated on July, 2016

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