Above: Manipur has been witnessing protracted violence, bandhs, insurgent activity and fake encounters for more than two decades/Photo: UNI
In what has been known as extra-judicial killings or fake encounter killings in the state of Manipur, to which security forces and the government have vigorously opposed, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta on Tuesday (January 16) directed the CBI to file FIRs without waiting for the conclusion of the forensics. The bench also ordered the CBI to carry on investigation after lodging of FIR.
The Additional Solicitor General on behalf of the CBI had submitted that before lodging of FIR “we have to collect the original FIR from the relevant office”.
To that Justice Lokur said that as per directions of the high court, 18 FIRs should have been registered as of now.
At that the petitioner raised the issue that the respondent counsel had appeared for the Union of India on the last date and had now appeared for the CBI. That, he said, represented a conflict of interest.
The writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution was filed raising important and fundamental questions of human rights violations – not in the context of the accused but in the context of the victims.
The allegations made in the writ petition concern what are described as fake encounters or
extra-judicial executions said to have been carried out by the Manipur Police and the armed forces of the Union of India, including the Army.
According to the police and security forces, the encounters are genuine and the victims were militants or terrorists or insurgents killed in counter insurgency or anti-terrorist operations. Whether the allegations are completely or partially true or are entirely rubbish and whether the encounter is genuine or not is yet to be determined, but in any case there is a need to know the truth, says the petition.
On Tuesday Justice Lokur said out of the three categories in which the cases were segregated, NHRC cases were picked and in those three cases liberty has been given to lodge FIRs and carrying on investigation later. These, the respondents have failed, the judge said.
The bench gave 15 days to lodge FIR as per law.
The petitioner submitted that not even single family member had been called for statements, required u/s 161 in cases where FIR has been lodged.
Sharad Agarwal from CBI is in charge of the SIT. The bench instructed him that all FIRs must be registered by January 31 in compliance with the order of July 14, 2017.
In 12 cases where FIRs have already been lodged, chargesheets shall be filed by February 12.
The bench also ordered that the Union of India and state of Manipur shall work in coordination and work expeditiously.
—India Legal Bureau