Manipur encounter deaths show pattern of carelessness, says Supreme Court #AFSPA


J. Venkatesan, The Hindu

Centre assures Bench that it will come out with dos and don’ts for security forces

The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would take a decision on the expert committee report holding that seven persons were killed in Manipur in fake encounters in six cases.

 

Additional Solicitor General Paras Kuhad submitted this before a Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ms. Ranjana Desai hearing a public interest writ petition highlighting how mass killings had taken place in the last decade. The committee comprised the former Supreme Court judge, Justice N. Santosh Hegde, the former Chief Election Commissioner, J.M. Lyngdoh, and the former DGP of Karnataka, Ajay Kumar Singh.

 

Justice Alam told counsel: “We can’t tell you how sorrowful we are. What is the use of sitting here? Everything appears meaningless.” The committee, in its report, said six cases of encounters resulting in the killing of seven persons were fake and the victims did not have any criminal background. The committee also reportedly recommended withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

 

‘No respect for human lives’

 

The Centre also assured the court that it would come out with “dos and don’ts for the security forces” and sought four weeks for responding to the report. When senior counsel V. Giri, appearing for the Manipur government, wanted the court to lay down guidelines on this issue, the Bench observed: “How many times this court laid down guidelines. Tragedy is guidelines are not followed. We want to proceed further and these things should not happen in future. These deaths reveal a pattern of carelessness. No respect for human lives.”

 

The Bench said, “Security forces are also human beings, away from family. They also get brutalised. These people are also young and in the midst of violence. They also don’t lead a normal life.”

 

NHRC suggestion

 

In its response to the committee’s report, the NHRC said: “To ensure that all such incidents in the future are thoroughly investigated, irrespective of whether they involve the Army, the paramilitary or the police, or are joint operations of these forces, the Government of Manipur must follow the NHRC guidelines on the steps to be taken after encounters.”

 

Detailed enquiries

 

The steps are: reporting these incidents within 48 hours to the NHRC and holding magisterial inquiries within three months. These enquiries should not be perfunctory, as they presently are.

 

The magistrate must inter alia closely examine all reports, including of post mortem, inspect the site and take statements from the families of the victims; the CBCID should inquire into each incident within two months.

 

“In every instance where the nature of the incident warrants it, the Government of Manipur should appoint a Commission of Inquiry headed by a judge. It must accept the findings and act on the recommendations of these commissions, instead of burying them, which is its current practice. The constitution of such a Commission of Inquiry must immediately be reported to the NHRC, and the report sent to it as soon as it has been tabled in the Legislative Assembly.”

 

The Bench adjourned the hearing by four weeks.

 

Six encounter cases in Manipur not genuine: Panel to SC


New Delhi, April 4, 2013, Agencies

 

A Supreme Court-appointed committee probing six cases of alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur informed the court on Thursday that these were not genuine encounters and the victims, including a 12-year-old boy, did not have any criminal records.

A bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai perused the committee’s report which said none of the six cases qualify as encounters and they are fake.

The committee, comprising of former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde, ex-CEC J.M. Lyngdoh and a senior police officer, has said in its report that the probe showed that none of the victims had any criminal records.

The bench said the report makes it clear that the guidelines on encounters laid down by the apex court in the Naga People’s Movement case was not followed.

Appropriate directions will be passed on the basis of the panel’s report on April 9, it said.

The Supreme Court on January 4, had decided to appoint the committee to hold an inquiry into the alleged fake encounter killings in Manipur.

The panel was set up to probe six cases of alleged extra- judicial killings in the Northeast State where a magisterial inquiry had raised questions on genuineness of the encounters.

The apex court had appointed the panel on a PIL filed by an association of the families of the alleged victims, seeking setting up of a special investigation team and direct inquiry into around 1,528 such cases.

The association had alleged in its plea that over 2,000 odd extra-judicial killings have taken place in the State, but no one has been held guilty till date.

It had alleged that innocent people with no criminal records have been killed by security forces and no proper investigation has been done in such cases.

The apex court while deciding to form the panel had said, “Magisterial inquiry does not inspire confidence as it is not satisfactory and none, including the Army personnel, appeared before it.”

It had, however, turned down the plea for SIT probe and also refused to go into the legality of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act which grants special powers to the security personnel in disturbed areas.

On July 4, 2012, the apex court had agreed to hear a similar plea for probe into alleged extra-judicial killings by BSF in the border area of West Bengal.

In that case, petitioner Bangla Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha, a Kolkata-based NGO, had alleged that there are more than 200 cases where BSF personnel indulged in extra-judicial killings and torture in the border area and those cases were never probed by the state police.

The NGO had alleged that instead of registering FIRs against the BSF personnel, these were registered against the deceased and the cases were closed on that basis.

Supreme Court green signal to inquiry panel for Manipur killings #goodnews #justice


Published: Friday, Jan 4, 2013, 15:04 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The Supreme Court has finally agreed to appoint a commission to inquire into encounter killings in Manipur.The commission comprising former apex court judge Santosh Hegde, former CEC J M Lyngdoh and a police officer will inquire into the five encounter killings, ruled the apex court.

Earlier, on November 5, the apex court rapped the Manipur government for not filing a report on alleged extra-judicial killings in the state, saying “people are dying out there”. A bench headed by justice Aftab Alam directed Manipur to file its response within two weeks and also asked the attorney general to assist the court in deciding the case. “Do it quickly. People are dying out there. File your report by November 19,” the bench said when the counsel appearing for the state sought six weeks’ time to file the response.

The court’s order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) initiated by an association of the families of the alleged victims, pleading with the apex court to set up a special investigation team and direct inquiry into all such cases. The association said over 2,000 extra-judicial killings have taken place in the state, but no one has been held guilty till date. The petitioner said innocent people with no criminal record had been killed by the security forces and no proper investigation had been carried out in such cases. The NGO had alleged that instead of registering FIRs (first information reports) against BSF personnel, they were registered against the dead and the cases closed.

 

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