New Delhi: The Supreme Court has declined the Centre’s curative petition seeking protection to the Army in dealing with militants and insurgency situations in Manipur from the purview of registration of FIR for alleged fake encounters.
A five-judge Bench of Chief Justices J.S. Khehar and Justices Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Madan Lokur and Uday Lalit dismissed the petition which wanted to recall the July 2016 order which said that Army or Manipur police cannot use excessive force under the provisions of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) or the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act to deal with militants or insurgency.
The petition which was heard in the CJI’s chamber was dismissed as ‘no merits’ and plea for oral hearing in open court was turned down. On July 8, 2016 the top court had given this ruling on a PIL filed by Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association (EEVFAM) alleging 1528 fake encounter deaths in Manipur in the last decade and demanding a probe by a SIT.
The court had said if members of our armed forces are deployed and employed to kill citizens of our country on the mere allegation or suspicion that they are ‘enemy’ not only the rule of law but our democracy would be in grave danger. It said use of excessive force or retaliatory force by the Manipur Police or the armed forces of the Union is not permissible. It had directed that the Army and other forces cannot use “excessive and retaliatory force” in Manipur and all such allegations must be probed.
Seeking to recall this order, the Centre said the findings and conclusions have far reaching ramifications on the security and integrity of the territory of India especially in certain parts of India.
The protections available to the Armed Forces under statutes such as the Armed Forces [Special Powers] Act,1958 (AFSPA) and the Unlawful Activities [Prevention] Act (UAPA) have been completely negated or bypassed. If the position maintained by the impugned order continues it may, one day, be well-nigh impossible to maintain peace and security.
The Indian Army has to, in given circumstances, take quick decisions which cannot be dissected later on.