In what could be a landmark judgement against the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the Guwahati High Court on August 31 this year has authorised the state of Manipur to act on the report of the one man commission in the alleged rape and killing of Manorama Devi by the armed forces in 2004.
"The Prime Minister and the Home Minister must now open the report submitted three years ago in the Manorama killing incident. The Centre went to the High Court delaying the issue. The report is in a sealed cover. The issue in this case is not about the validity of the Armed forces act. It shows how some section of the Army can use this act to do criminal activities," said Colin Gonsalves, a lawyer.
Justice Upendra Singh who headed the Commission of Inquiry found the security men guilty of excesses.
"The security people do not care for the law of the land," said Justice Upendra Singh.
The Assam Rifles had challenged the validity of the commission arguing that they are governed under a special act and only the Centre can set up a commission of inquiry not the state.
Six years after Manipur erupted with the defining image of anger against the killing and resistance to the Armed Forces Act this judgement could be crucial in understanding that the Act is meant to aid civil powers and not substitute it.
Except the armed forces almost everyone agrees that the AFSPA requires amendment. It has already been reviewed .And the judgement may have just come at the right time when the government is has indicated considering dilution of some of the provisions of the Act.