(1) The Central Government shall constitute a National Service (Hardship) Committee consisting of a Chairman and two other members appointed by it.
(2) The Chairman of the National Service (Hardship) Committee shall be a person who is or has been or is qualified to be, a Judge of a High Court.
(3) The members of the National Service (Hardship) Committee shall hold office for a period of three years but shall be eligible for reappointment.
(4) The proceedings of the National Service (Hardship) Committee shall not be invalid by reason of any defect in the constitution of, or any vacancy in, such Committee.
(5) Any vacancy in the National Service (Hardship) Committee shall be filled by the Central Government in such manner as it may think fit.
(6) The Central Government may constitute Regional National Service (Hardship) Committees for such regions as it may think fit and on such constitution such Regional National Service (Hardship) Committee shall have all the powers, functions and privileges of the National Service (Hardship) Committee and shall be subject to the same provisions as are applicable to that Committee.
(7) The National Service (Hardship) Committee shall have power to regulate its own procedure with regard to any investigation under this Act and shall have for the purposes of such investigation the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely:-
(a) Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
(b) Requiring the discovery and production of documents producible as evidence;
(c) Receiving evidence on oath;
(d) Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
(c) Such other matters as may be prescribed.
(1) Any qualified person who is for the time being liable to be called up for national service under this Act and who has been served with a notice referred to in sub-section (1) of Section 13, or any employer of such qualified person, may apply, in the prescribed manner to the Central Government for a certificate of postponement of liability to be called up for national service on the ground that exceptional hardship would ensue if such qualified person were called up for national service, and may, on that ground apply, in the prescribed manner, for the renewal of the postponement certificate granted to him.
(2) Where an application for a postponement certificate or for the renewal thereof is made, the Central Government shall refer the application for decision to the National Service (Hardship) Committee.
(3) No application for the grant of a postponement certificate shall be referred by the Central Government to the National Service (Hardship) Committee unless such application is made within sixty days from the date of service of the notice referred to in sub-section (1) of section 13:
Provided that the Central Government may refer an application for the grant of a postponement certificate to the National Service (Hardship) Committee made after the expiry of the said period if it is satisfied, having regard to the grounds on which the application is made, that the making thereof has not been unreasonably delayed.
(4) The Central Government may by regulations specify the principles to be applied and the circumstances to which regard is to be or not to be had for the hearing of an application for the grant or renewat of a postponement certificate and as to the period for which the postponement certificate may be granted or renewed.
(5) The National Service (Hardship) Committee may, after consideration of the application for a postponement certificate or renewal thereof, grant or reject the same.
(6) The period within which the postponement certificate is in force shall be added to the period during which the person to whom the certificate was granted is liable under this Act to be culled up for national service and accordingly this Act shall in relation to that person have effect as if for reference therein to the age of thirty years, there were substituted, an age being the sum of thirty years and the period during which-
(i) The postponement certificate is in force, and
(ii) The enlistment notice was of no effect by reason of the provisions of clause (b) of sub¬ section (4) of section 14.
(7) If any qualified person or an employer makes an application for a postponement certificate on a ground which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true or on a ground which, in the opinion of the National Service (Hardship) Committee, is frivolous, he shall be liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
(1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), an appeal shall lie against the decision of the National Service (Hardship) Committee to the High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation to the territory in which the applicant for the postponement certificate voluntarily resides, carries on business or personally works for gain.
(2) No appeal referred to in sub-section (1) shall lie unless-
(i) It is preferred within thirty days from the date of the decision of the National Service (Hardship) Committee, and
(ii) The National Service (Hardship) Committee certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law.
(3) Where the National Service (Hardship) Committee has refused to give a certificate referred to in sub-section (2), the High Court may, if it is satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law, gram special leave to appeal against the decision of the National Service (Hardship) Committee.
(4) The High Court may, after hearing the appeal, confirm, modify or reverse the decision of the National Service (Hardship) Committee.
(1) If, at any time, while a postponement certificate is in force, it appears to the Central Government that, by reason of any change in the circumstances of the qualified person to whom the certificate was granted or of his employer, where such certificate was granted on the application of such employer, the certificate ought to be revoked or the period for which it was granted or last renewed ought to be shortened, the Central Government may apply to the National Service (Hardship) Committee, and that Committee may either reject the application or cancel the certificate or vary it by shortening the period.
(2) Where an application is made under sub-section (1), the person to whom the postponement certificate in question was granted, and where such certificate was granted on the application of an employer, such employer, shall be entitled to be heard on the application and the provisions as to appeals contained in section 20 shall apply, in relation to the application as if it were an application for the grant of a postponement certificate.
(1) The Central Government may, if it is satisfied at any time that by reason of the gravity of the situation it is necessary so to do, by order-
(a) Cancel, either generally or in relation to a specified class of qualified persons, all postponement certificates in force at the date of the order, and
(b) Abrogate, either generally or in relation to a specified class of qualified persons, any right to apply for the grant of a postponement certificate and any right to appeal from the refusal to grant such a certificate, and may, by order, vary or revoke any order in force under this section, without prejudice however to the previous effect of that order.
(2) Where, on the day on which an order comes into force under this section abrogating any right to appeal from the refusal to grant a postponement certificate, an appeal preferred by a person to whom the order applies or the time for preferring such appeal by such person has not expired, the appeal shall be deemed to be dismissed or the time shall be deemed to expire on the expiry of that day.
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