TODAY -

Hearing on alleged extra-judicial killings ends : Report likely to be submitted within a week
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 22 2013: The Supreme Court appointed Commission, headed by Justice Santosh Hegde, after cross examining dozens of affidavits submitted by the victims as well as security forces in six cases of alleged extrajudicial executions in Imphal and Delhi concluded its hearing yesterday.

The report is expected to be submitted within a week.

At the same time, twelve points/suggestions, including repeal of AFSPA and withdrawal of the security forces, were made in the final submission to the Commission on behalf of the petitioners.

The twelve-point suggestions included appointment of special investigation teams consisting of 25 senior investigation officers from outside the State of Manipur to take up the investigation and prosecution of 25 serious cases where it is alleged that fake encounters have taken place.

Setting up of nine separate district Courts to function exclusively as Human Rights Courts in accordance with Section 30 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 with the qualification that such Courts will be empowered to entertain complaints of human rights violation directly and to devise its own procedure so that these criminal proceedings are completed within a period of 6 months; to declare that custodial killings and other human rights atrocities, when committed, require no sanction for prosecution either under the CrPC or UAPA or AFSPA; in all other cases, where sanction is necessary, the State should communicate its order regarding the grant of sanction within 30 days of the application for sanction, are also included in the suggestions.

It further suggested that the National and State Legal Aid Services Authorities should provide competent lawyers with a fair practice at the Bar and with at least 5 years experience for all the victims of human rights atrocities and such lawyers will be paid by the State at rates not inconsistent with the normal commercial rates for legal practitioners.

To facilitate a system of registering FIRs through email, registered posts and other convenient methods and at public places other than police stations such as public hospitals; taking care and providing protection in all cases, right from the reporting of the human rights atrocity, the victims and their families and concerned witnesses ; Extending existing social welfare schemes the victims by the State in order to help the victims and their families reconstruct their lives and also creating new and specific schemes with generous benefits covering education, pension, employment, health care, housing and other social benefits are also proposed.

In all cases where it is alleged by the family or friends of the deceased that a fake encounter has taken place, a district judge or a retired district judge should conduct an inquiry expeditiously to come to a prima facie conclusion as to whether a fake encounter has taken place or not.

In all cases where, under the orders of the High Court, or as Commissions of Inquiries, inquiries have been done in respect of allegations of fake encounters, all such reports should be made public and copies given to the families of the victims and in cases where the findings are that the encounter was fake, criminal prosecution of the personnel concerned should immediately begin and fast tracked to finish within 6 months.

Further, the Commission recommended to the Supreme Court that a Commission be formed along the lines of the present Commission to meet with all sections of society , study the situation and make recommendations for the restoration of democracy in Manipur, the withdrawal of the Army and for peace to be restored.

The collective which supported the victims during the Commission namely of the Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association, Manipur (EEVFAM), Human Rights Alert (HRA), Manipur, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), New Delhi, Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM), Gujarat and other sincerely hoped that the Commission and the Supreme Court will play the much needed catalytic role of bringing justice to the victims of AFSPA.

In September 2012, it may be mentioned, Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families' Association, Manipur (EEVFAM) along with Human Rights Alert (HRA) submitted a list of 1528 extrajudicial executions in Manipur since 1979 praying for the constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the cases.

After hearing the arguments from the State of Manipur, Union of India and the National Human Rights Commission, the Supreme Court on January 4 year constituted a high power Commission 'to be fully satisfied about the truth of the allegations concerning the cases cited by the writ petitioners' .

Justice N Santosh Hegde, former Judge, Supreme Court of India is the chairman while JM Lyngdoh, former Chief Election Commissioner and Dr Ajaykumar Singh, IPS, Retd DGP of Karnataka are the members.

The Commission is mandated to make a thorough enquiry into and record a finding regarding the past antecedents and the circumstances in which they were killed for seven victims including Azad Khan, Khumbongmayum Orsonjit, Nameirakpam Gobin Meitei, Nameirakpam Nobo Meitei, Elangbam Kiranjit Singh, Chongtham Umakanta and Akoijam Priyobroto.

The Commission invited affidavits from the public having knowledge of the facts and circumstances relating to the killings of the persons listed.

Thereafter, cross examinations of the witnesses were held at Classic Hotel Imphal from March 3 to 7 and in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi from March 13 to 21 .


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