New Delhi, Aug 20: The Supreme Court will now hear the plea filed by over 300 Indian Army personnel challenging the registration of FIRs against them for carrying out operations in disturbed areas such as Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir where the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is in force on September 4.

The apex court was earlier slated to hear the petition today.

The petition was filed by army officers ranging from Section Commanders to Commanding Officers of the Section, Platoon, Company and Battalion. Col Amit Kumar too filed the petition. Thousands of petitioners have come forward claiming the registration of cases against those serving in highly disturbed and insurgency-hit areas and the probe by the police or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is a major setback for the armed forces.

According to the petition, the protection of persons acting in good faith under AFSPA was sacrosanct with the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.

The plea which was submitted by lawyer Aishwarya Bhati states that Army personnel are being persecuted and proceeded against performing duties in such disturbed areas. The plea was considered by a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar and hence will be heard today.

The plea which was filed by several Army officers assumes greater importance as CBI’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) has recently filed charge sheets in two separate encounter cases in Manipur against the armed forces. The armed forces have been charged with murder in both the cases. It must be noted that the SIT was constituted by the SC while hearing a matter regarding the alleged fake encounters by the Army, Assam Rifles and the state police in Manipur.

In one of the cases regarding the alleged fake encounters in Manipur, CBI chief Alok Verma is slated to depose before a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice UU Lalit. The bench had asked the CBI chief to explain the progress made by the agency against those accused of involvement in alleged fake encounters in Manipur in the last hearing of the case.