The Supreme Court today asked the Army authorities to decide whether its personnel accused of fake encounter killings in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam should be tried by court-martial proceedings or by regular criminal courts.
A bench of justices BS Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said that if the Army authorities were not keen on court-martial proceedings, then the CBI can seek sanction from the Centre for prosecution of the Army officers.
Army personnel were allegedly involved in the killing of 7 persons in an alleged staged shootout at Pathribal in Jammu and Kashmir 12 years ago.
In the event of the accused officers being tried by the regular criminal courts, the Centre shall consider the CBI's plea for sanction within three months, the apex court said.
The bench had reserved its verdict on April 23.
Earlier, while concluding their arguments, additional solicitor general Harin Raval and senior counsel Ashok Bhan, appearing for CBI, had reiterated that Army personnel involved in the alleged fake encounter have no immunity from prosecution.
CBI had earlier told the special bench that it was a case of "cold-blooded murder and the accused officials deserve to be meted out exemplary punishment."
CBI had contended that no prior sanction was required for prosecuting the Army personnel and the need to ensure "public confidence in the rule of law and dispensation of justice" warranted their prosecution.
"Our investigations have revealed it was a fake encounter and cold-blooded murders. If public confidence in the rule of law and dispensation of justice is to be sustained, the accused officers deserve to be meted out exemplary punishment," Bhan had told the bench.