SC asks Centre to clarify over Army`s immunity

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to clarify whether it was willing to try army officials over the Chattisinghpora encounter case.

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."


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