The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to reconstitute a bench for hearing cases on alleged extrajudicial killings by the Indian Army, the Assam Rifles, and police officials in Manipur, PTI reported. A top court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that it would reconstitute the bench as Justice MB Lokur, who was hearing the matter, had retired.
The counsel for the petitioners, senior lawyer Colin Gonsalves, said that the matter had not been heard since Lokur’s retirement. He also said that he had brought it up before a bench of Justice UU Lalit, who has heard such cases along with Lokur, but he was told to approach the chief justice’s bench.
In July 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered the Central Bureau of Intelligence to look into the alleged 1,528 killings in Manipur between 2000 and 2012 by security personnel and the police. The court had also pulled up the Manipur government for not taking action on such alleged fake encounters by armed forces.
In April 2017, the Indian Army had told the court that it cannot be subjected to first information reports for carrying out anti-militancy operations in insurgency-prone areas such as Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur. It also claimed that the judicial inquiries that had been conducted into the killings were biased against the Army.