New Delhi: In an important order relating to army personnel engaged in counter insurgency operations, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that those involved in encounter killings cannot be prosecuted without prior sanction of the Central government as they enjoy immunity under AFSPA.
A bench of justices BS Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar, however, said if the accused army officials are to be tried under the court martial proceedings then no such sanction was required.
The bench granted the option to the army authorities to try the officers in Pathribal and Saikhowa encounter killings under court martial proceedings or alternatively subject them to trial in criminal courts.
The court gave this ruling while rejecting CBI`s contention and upholding the appeal filed by army officers challenging their prosecution over "fake" encounters in Pathribal, J&K, 12 years ago in which 7 persons were killed.
The verdict also covered another encounter in 1994 in Saikhowa Reserve Forest in Assam`s Tinsukhia District in which five persons were killed.