New Delhi, Aug 14: A petition was today filed before Supreme Court of India by 355 serving Army officials regarding protection in Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) areas including Kashmir. The Supreme Court has listed the matter for 20th Aug 2018.
Reports reaching Kashmir News Bureau, prominent lawyer Aishwarya Bhati Tuesday filed a petition on behalf of 355 serving Army officials regarding protection in Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) areas where soldiers are operating in anti-insurgency, militancy & proxy war situations.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar today agreed to grant urgent hearing after counsel Aishwarya Bhati said dilution of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) protection shield to armed forces personnel in disturbed areas will jeopardize the efficiency of operations against ultras and endanger national security.
Earlier in January this year several rounds of high-level discussions took place between the defence and home ministry, on the “need for removing or diluting some provisions” of the AFSPA in line with the Supreme Court’s judgments on “extra-judicial killings” and expert committee recommendations over the years.
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), are Acts of the Parliament of India grant special powers to the Armed Forces in what each act terms “disturbed areas”. According to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976 once declared ‘disturbed’, the area has to maintain status quo for a minimum of 3 months. One such Act passed on September 11, 1958 was applicable to the Naga Hills, then part of Assam. In the following decades it spread, one by one, to the other Seven Sister States in India’s northeast(at present it is in force in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur excluding Imphal municipal council area, Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh). Another one passed in 1983 and applicable to Punjab and Chandigarh was withdrawn in 1997, roughly 14 years after it came to force. An Act passed in 1990 was applied to Jammu and Kashmir and has been in force since.
Reacting to plea filed in Supreme Court by Army seeking complete impunity while working in areas under AFSPA, MLA Langate Engineer Rashid has said that the plea is a confession of guilt defeat. (KNB)