Shopian firing: SC stays investigation into FIR

Shopian firing: SC stays investigation into FIR

Says armyman cannot be treated as common criminal

Shopian firing: SC stays investigation into FIR

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed an investigation into an FIR lodged by the Jammu and Kashmir Police  in the Shopian firing incident on January 27 that resulted in death of three civilians.

The court's order came even as the state police claimed that Major Aditya Kumar was not named as an accused.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud put a writ petition filed by Kumar's father Lieutenant Colonel Karamveer Singh, challenging police action against army personnel in the area covered under the AFSPA, for final disposal on April 24.

Attorney General K K Venugopal supported the plea by Singh, saying, "this (the FIR) cannot be lodged in view of the Army Act and the (earlier) judgements passed by the Supreme Court."

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, representing the state government, contended that the officer has not been named as an accused till date.

To  a query by the court on whether he would be named subsequently,  Naphade said  it would depend on the investigation.

To  this the bench said, "No, you cannot proceed against him. He is the only officer who has been named in the FIR. You cannot treat him like an ordinary criminal".

"Does this give him a licence to kill," Naphade asked in response, while maintaining the investigation cannot be stalled at this stage.

Venugopal countered him by saying, "When hundreds of armymen are being killed,  he (state counsel) would not make arguments like this."

The bench listed the matter for final disposal on April 24. "In the meantime, there shall be no investigation on the basis of FIR till then," it said.

The top court had on February 12 restrained the state police from taking any coercive action on the basis of the FIR against army personnel for opening fire on an "unruly mob" in Shopian.

Singh, a decorated army officer, claimed the FIR would have a "numbing effect on the morale of the armed forces of the nation."

The army convoy was attacked and a junior commissioned officer was about to be lynched, forcing the personnel to open fire lawfully as part of their bonafide duties, the petitioner said.

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