Details of the judgement
Supreme Court ruled that the armed forces cannot escape investigation for excesses in the course of the discharge of their duty even in “disturbed areas” , even though in such notified areas, security personnel enjoy statutory protection for their use of “special powers”.
When the judgement was given?
While hearing petitions demanding an inquiry into 1,528 deaths in counter-insurgency operations and related incidents in Manipur, the court has said the provisions of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and the purported immunity it offers to the use of force “even to the extent of causing death” are not invincible.
The court has sought tabulated details on 62 specific cases in which there is some evidence that the deaths involved were not genuine operational casualties but extrajudicial killings or fake encounters.
Possibility of violation of human rights
In most cases, not even a first information report has been registered, and in some, the cases are against the victims. The court has acknowledged that additional powers have been given to the armed forces to deal with terrorism effectively. However, it also made clear that this cannot be an excuse for extrajudicial killings — whenever such allegations surface, they have to be investigated, regardless of whether the person concerned is a dreaded criminal, terrorist or insurgent.