Recall order on Manipur encounters: govt to SC

Court wanted probe into 1,528 cases of 'fake encounters'

Recall order on Manipur encounters: govt to SC

The government has asked the Supreme Court to recall its 2016 judgement directing probe into 1,528 cases of “fake encounter” cases in Manipur in the last 20 years.

In a curative petition, the government said the judgement has hampered the army’s ability to respond to insurgent and terrorist situations.

“The action taken by the army during operations cannot be put to judicial scrutiny,” the government argued, adding that applying the principle of judicial review over action taken in two or three decades would dent the armed forces’ morale.

The government also claimed that the judgement will have far-reaching and catastrophic impact on the country’s security and integrity. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the matter before a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice J S Khehar and sought urgent hearing on the curative petition.

National security

Maintaining that it was a question of national security, Rohatgi said the armed forces would have their morale dented if the local police were to investigate each and every incident after it takes place.

The bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said it would go through the curative petition and take a call on granting an open court hearing.

Judges usually hear a curative petition, filed after dismissal of a review petition, inside their chambers.

On July 8, 2016, a Supreme Court bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit decided in favour of a probe over the fake encounters by security forces and Manipur police after noting that “democracy will be in grave danger” if armed forces are allowed to kill citizens on allegation or suspicion that they are enemies of the state. Rejecting the Centre’s plea that there was a war-like situation in the state, the court had then questioned deployment of security forces in Manipur under AFSPA since 1958.

The apex court had on October 6 also dismissed a review petition of its judgement.In its curative petition, the government said: “The judicial review of military operations will have damaging consequences for operational effectiveness and may erode the fighting power. This in turn could have catastrophic consequences for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the nation.”

“The protections available to the Armed Forces under statutes such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act,1958, and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act have been completely negated or bypassed. If the position maintained by the impugned order continues it may, one day, be well-nigh impossible to maintain peace and security,” the government said.

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