New Delhi: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday questioned the need to knock the door of the Supreme Court by the serving soldiers and officers against the dilution of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) which that gives immunity to military personnel from prosecution for their actions in disturbed and insurgency-hit areas asking what would happen if they lose the case.
General Rawat also reportedly pointed out that most of the Army petitioners have never even engaged in the counter-insurgency operations. “The Army was fighting these cases, the government is aware of these cases, and AFSPA is a very strong law which provides protection to the soldiers. Now, if the petitioners lose the case, what will happen,” he said, Indian Express reported.
A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit will hear on September 4 a plea by a group of serving Army officers against the dilution of AFSPA. The apex court also asked the CBI’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) to file a status report on the alleged 1,528 cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur by the Army, Assam Rifles and the state police.
The Army petitioners, range from Section Commanders to Commanding Officers, have sought specific guidelines to protect military personnel from criminal proceedings for bonafide actions done in the discharge of official duties in areas infested with insurgents and witnessing proxy wars against India.
The bench also sought personal appearance of the CBI Director for the proceedings of the case saying it was “not satisfied” with the pace of the investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings in the state. The bench asserted that the violation of the human rights “cannot be tolerated” and pulled up CBI for filing FIRs against dead persons, who were victims.