NEW DELHI: Days after 356 Army personnel had approached the Supreme Court challenging the criminal cases filed against them in Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir where the AFSPA is in force, another group of 387 soldiers came out in their support.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta is scheduled to hear the plea on September 4.The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act gives the military sweeping powers to search and arrest and even open fire, if it deems to do so for the maintenance of public order.
The law gives them a degree of immunity from prosecution. The petitioners argued that they are being prosecuted for performing their duties in disturbed areas and such cases lower the morale of security forces. The Army officers filed the petition two weeks after the Central Bureau of Investigation informed the Supreme Court that two charge sheets were filed in connection with the alleged fake encounters in Manipur.
The petitioners have demanded laying down of specific guidelines to protect the bona fide action of soldiers under the AFSPA, so that no soldier is harassed by initiation of criminal proceedings for actions done in good faith in exercise of their duties, as mandated by the Union of India, in protection of sovereignty, integrity and dignity of the country.They also sought a direction to the Government to take all steps to protect from persecution the soldiers securing the integrity and sovereignty of the nation