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Nearly 400 army officers approach Supreme Court challenging criminal cases

Nearly 400 army officers and soldiers approached the Supreme Court on Friday, challenging the criminal cases being filed against defence personnel serving in insurgency-hit areas

india Updated: Aug 31, 2018 23:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Army,Indian Army,Army officers
An army soldier showing victory sign after killing two militants in Hajin some 40 kilometres north of Srinagar,India.(HT File photo)

Nearly 400 army officers and soldiers approached the Supreme Court on Friday, challenging the criminal cases being filed against defence personnel serving in insurgency-hit areas.

This is the second group of soldiers to petition the top court against dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Afspa) that shielded them from prosecution without the centre’s nod.

About 350 soldiers had moved the top court with a similar request earlier this month. A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court is expected hear the petition next week.

The petition filed on Friday says, “The extraordinary circumstances in which their colleagues are being persecuted and prosecuted for carrying out there bonafide duties, without making any distinction or determination with regard to act having been done in good faith, without any criminal intent or mens rea, has compelled them to approach the court.”

A three judge bench of the Supreme court had last year constituted a special team to probe 1,500 allegations of human rights violations by security personnel in Manipur and ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe in cases where the accusations appeared to be genuine during the initial probe.

The verdict was a blow to the immunity enjoyed by security forces in disturbed areas and was seen as diluting the protection under Afspa.

The petition says “An extraordinary situation of confusion has arisen with respect to their protection from prosecution...” after the order of the Supreme Court.

Afspa was first enacted in 1958 amid the then nascent Naga insurgency.

First Published: Aug 31, 2018 23:12 IST