The legal question of whether permission is required to file police cases against Army personnel will be settled by the Supreme Court, which is hearing an appeal by the father of an army officer posted in Jammu and Kashmir. Major Aditya Kumar was leading a convoy that allegedly opened fire on a group of civilians during a stone throwing protest in Kashmir's Shopian in March. Three civilians had died.
His father, a Kargil war veteran, had appealed to the Supreme Court, asking that the First Information Report naming his son be cancelled, as it was "bad in law". An FIR against serving army personnel had a "numbing effect" on the morale of soldiers operating in "inhospitable terrain", Lieutenant Colonel Karamvir Singh had said.
In militancy-hit areas, the army is granted special powers under AFSPA or Armed Forces' Special Powers Act. In this case, the army also argued that its officers had opened fire because they were provoked to the ultimate.
Earlier, the top court had put a freeze on the investigation against the officer after the state government did not clarify its stand on whether the officer would be named as an accused. Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, "After all, it is a case of an Army officer, not an ordinary criminal".
Today, the centre's senior law officer argued that army personnel are protected under Section 7 of the AFSPA and prior permission is required to file a case against them. The Jammu and Kashmir government cited an order of the Supreme Court to say that once the police get a complaint, they are obliged to file a First Information Report.
Laws make it mandatory to file an FIR in cases of cognizable offence and there is no provision for exception, the Jammu and Kashmir government said. The centre's stand, it added, was in conflict with the view taken by a constitution bench in this regard.
The state also said all states should be made party to this case, since accepting the Centre'a plea will affect the statutory powers of police in all states across the country.
The case will be heard again on July 30.
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