The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a petition challenging the cases filed against Army personnel for operations in places where the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is in force. More than 300 personnel of the Indian Army had filed the plea, which the court agreed to hear on August 20, PTI reported.
On behalf of the petitioners, lawyer Aishwarya Bhati said Army personnel were prosecuted for performing their duties in disturbed areas and that such prosecutions lower the morale of military and para-military forces.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or AFSPA, gives the military sweeping powers to search and arrest, and to open fire if they deem it necessary for “the maintenance of Public Order”, and to do so with a degree of immunity from prosecution.
The petition comes two weeks after the Central Bureau of Investigation informed the Supreme Court that two chargesheets were filed in connection with the alleged fake encounters by the Indian Army, Assam Rifles, and the police in Manipur. The court had reprimanded the agency over its handling of the case and had asked CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma to appoint 12 more officers to assist in the Special Investigation Team in order to expedite the filing of chargesheets.
The Manipur Police is also planning to move a petition before the Supreme Court to question its decision asking the CBI to register FIRs against police officers for alleged extra-judicial killings, reported The Economic Times.