Is Centre's consent compulsory before filing FIR against Army personnel? SC to decide on plea in Shopian firing case

The apex court is hearing the plea of Lieutenant Colonel Karamveer Singh, the father of Major Aditya Kumar, seeking to quash the FIR against his son. 

Is Centre's consent compulsory before filing FIR against Army personnel? SC to decide on plea in Shopian firing case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court while hearing a petition into the Shopian case involving Major Aditya said that it will take the final call on whether an FIR can be filed against an Army personnel without the consent of the Centre or not. The SC made the observation after the Jammu and Kashmir government pushed for investigation in the case against Major Aditya and said it will decide if the Major's father's petition to quash the FIR is maintainable or not.

The next date for the hearing of the case is July 30. The apex court is hearing the plea of Lieutenant Colonel Karamveer Singh, the father of Major Aditya Kumar, seeking to quash the FIR against his son. Singh had said in his petition that his son, a major in 10 Garhwal Rifles, was "wrongly and arbitrarily" named in the FIR. Three civilians were killed when Army personnel fired at a stone-pelting mob in Ganovpora village of Shopian on January 27 this year, prompting the chief minister to order an inquiry into the incident.

During the last hearing, the Jammu and Kashmir government had told the court that an FIR had been filed but no one had been named as accused. The court had however said that Major Aditya is an Army officer and not an ordinary criminal hence the matter needs to be seen in a holistic way. But the government questioned if that gives them the right to kill anyone.
 
The state government also argued that the army officials do not respond to the communications sent by investigating officer and think that "they are above law". Reacting immediately, Attorney General KK Venugopal had said: "Licence to kill? Many of our soldiers are being killed there."

The Centre contended that the state government cannot lodge an FIR against army personnel under section 7 of the Jammu and Kashmir AFSPA for the job done in discharge of their duty, as no prior sanction was taken from the Union of India.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had then ordered to halt the investigation into the matter.

(Reporter inputs from Sumit Kumar)

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