SC asks Centre to clarify over Army`s immunity
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Last Updated: Friday, January 20, 2012, 21:01
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to clarify by Monday whether it was willing to try army officials under the Army Act for their alleged involvement in the Chattisinghpora encounter in which 7 people were killed.

A bench of justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar passed the order even as Centre and CBI continued to differ on the immunity enjoyed by the army under the controversial AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) and other regular laws in encounter killings.

Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra, on behalf of Centre, denied that fake encounter killings had taken place in the specific cases pertaining to J&K and Assam pending before the apex court.

Another Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal, appearing for CBI, insisted that they were "fake encounters." Rawal insisted that the accused army officials did not enjoy any immunity from prosecution, while Malhotra argued that they enjoyed protection in discharge of their official functions.

The bench passed the direction on CBI's application for vacating the stay granted by the apex court on the trial in a J&K court relating to the killing of 7 people by the army allegedly in retaliation to the killing of 36 civilians by militants at Chattisingpora in 2000.

Rawal had earlier argued that though right of immunity under 197 CrPC was available to the officers, but in the present case it is not sought by the accused, but by senior Defence Ministry officers, which was contrary to the law.

At the earlier hearing, irked by the Centre's diverse views the bench had observed, "You cannot say that an army man can enter any home and commit a rape and say he enjoys immunity as it has been done in discharge of official duties."


First Published: Friday, January 20, 2012, 21:01

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