NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the petitions of over 350 Army men who had challenged the registration of FIRs against members of the armed forces in connection with operations in Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir where the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is in force.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre told the bench of justices M B Lokur and U U Lalit, “There has to be a mechanism where the hands of our soldiers are not shaken while fighting terrorism. The fact that over 300 soldiers of our country have to pray for this is itself unfortunate... The country cannot afford that our soldiers are demoralised.”
The bench shot back saying who was stopping the Centre from framing such a mechanism. It referred to the CBI probe into Manipur encounter cases and said if a central agency finds that someone has exceeded his powers, then an inquiry should be conducted.
Advocate Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Army men, told the bench that the plea should be heard with the main matter which relates to alleged extra-judicial killings by the Army, Assam Rifles and police in Manipur. The bench told Bhati that the plea by Army men was “completely different” from the main matter.
Referring to the CBI probe into Manipur encounter cases, the SC said if a central agency finds that someone has exceeded his powers then inquiry should be done.