The Centre on Wednesday strongly opposed Supreme Court’s proposal to re-open decades old cases of rapes and murders allegedly committed by armed forces in Manipur.
Reason for Centre’s Opposition
The anti-insurgency drive by the armed forces in terrorist infected states would take a beating if Army’s actions was always looked upon with suspicion and re-investigation was ordered in closed cases, the Centre told the court.
Appearing before a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi refuted the allegation that armed force personnel had indulged in rape and murder of innocent people of Manipur and termed the findings of various judicial commission as ‘biased’ against the Army.
He pleaded the court not to rely on the reports of judicial commissions which had squarely blamed Army personnel for extra-judicial killings in the state.
‘In all judicial inquiry reports slant is against us. They proceeded on the basis that Army is always wrong. They do not know under what atmosphere armed personnel work in terrorism-hit states. Our job is not to go and start killing innocent people. They get killed after being caught in the crossfire between the Army and terrorist,’ he said.
‘If Army is always disbelieved then we cannot function and cannot carry out anti-insurgency operations. How can I stagemanage a fake encounter in which my own people get killed. How can I be accused of killing civilians when I lose my own personnel in encounters. None of the report is impartial. All are biased against us. If Army is disbelieved, then the whole system will go haywire and cannot work,’ he said.
Not a fair probe?
The Attorney General said that the judicial commission had not conducted fair probe and acted like a prosecutor, cross-examiner and judge to come to a conclusion against Army personnel. Rohatgi was referring to 21 cases in which judicial probe was conducted in encounter killings in Manipur but no FIR was lodged against accused personnel.
Rohatgi pleaded the court not to re-open the cases as compensation in all cases had been paid to the victims’ family and they were satisfied with it. The bench, however, said that in victim’s satisfaction was immaterial in criminal cases and fresh probe could be directed to ensure that accused were brought to book.
The apex court is examining whether those cases could be re-opened and fresh probe be done by court-appointed SIT to find out the truth and to bring accused to justice.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by the Extra Judicial Execution Victims Families Association, a registered trust with the wives and mothers of persons who they claim have been extra-judicially executed by the Manipur police and the security forces (mainly the Assam Rifles and the Army) as its members. The petitioner alleged 1,528 extra-judicial killings by the army and other security forces in the last three decades in Manipur.
The court favoured appointing a SIT comprising of senior officers of CBI and Manipur police to conduct fresh probe as probes conducted by the armed force and judicial probe gave contradictory findings.
Source: The Times of India