Encounter killing; SC comes down on Manipur government

 The Supreme Court today said the fact that compensation has been paid to the next of kin of victims of security forces' encounter killings in Manipur "amply indicate" that such encounters were fake.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today said the fact that compensation has been paid to the next of kin of victims of security forces' encounter killings in Manipur "amply indicate" that such encounters were fake.

It asked Manipur government to apprise the court of the steps taken after compensations were paid to kith and kin of deceased persons.

"If you think it was a valid encounter, then why are you paying compensation? Have you challenged any of the orders?" the social justice bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit said.

The bench said that the fact that the compensation has been paid to the next relatives of the deceased "amply indicate" that encounters were fake and the question would be "were they valid".

It gave the instance 2001 Parliament attack case and said "no court awarded compensation to the relatives of the accused (terrorists)."

However, senior advocate V Giri, appearing for the state government, said that the payment of compensation on the directions of the court is not an admission of an alleged offence.

Meanwhile, the court was told by the amicus curiae that the state and the Central government and NHRC have provided a list of 62 killings that were sought to be passed-off as those of militants by security forces.

The court asked Manipur government to file its reply to a petition by one Suresh Singh seeking repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Earlier, the court had asked the Centre, Manipur government and NHRC to submit a comprehensive report on alleged fake encounter cases in the state, including 62 such cases where FIRs have not even been lodged.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Extra Judicial Execution Victims' Families Association, had said "in all these 62 cases, not a single FIR has been lodged against any of the accused."

The bench had also asked Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, representing the Centre, and the lawyers of NHRC and the state government to provide requisite information to the amicus curiae who, in turn, will prepare a comprehensive chart of cases for the perusal of court.

The erstwhile UPA government had earlier told the apex court that findings of the Supreme Court-appointed panel's report on extra-judicial killings in Manipur had been examined at the highest level.

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