New Delhi: The CBI on Monday told the Supreme
Court that the alleged fake encounter at Pathribal in Jammu
and Kashmir 12 years ago in which seven people were killed by
Army personnel "were cold-blooded murders and the accused
officials deserve to be meted out exemplary punishment."
Senior counsel Ashok Bhan told a special bench of justices
B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar that no prior sanction was
required for prosecuting the Army officials and the need to
ensure "public confidence in the rule of law and dispensation
of justice" warranted their prosecution.
"Our investigations have revealed it was a fake encounter
and cold-blooded murders. If public confidence in the rule of
law and dispensation of justices is to be sustained, the
accused officers deserve to be meted out exemplary
punishment," Bhan told the bench.
Bhan`s submission was contrary to the stand taken by
Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra, who appearing for
the Army officers, said prior sanction was mandatory for
prosecuting the officials, who otherwise are innocent.
The apex court posted the matter for further hearing on
Monday next and asked the CBI to clarify the expression used
in Section 6 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which gave
immunity to Army personnel for encounters killings.
The bench wanted the CBI to explain what was the meaning
of the expression "acting in discharge of duty or acting in
purported discharge of the duty," as provided in Section 6 of
On the last hearing, the apex court had asked the Centre
to convey its stand as to whether five officials, including a
Major General, can be tried under the Army Act.