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Govt wants judges to recuse themselves in Manipur case Centre Bats For Officials Facing Action For ‘Fake Encoun

September 29, 2018 05:32 AM


Govt wants judges to recuse themselves in Manipur case
Centre Bats For Officials Facing Action For ‘Fake Encounters’

New Delhi:

The Centre on Friday came out in support of serving and retired armed forces personnel who have challenged the Supreme Court’s decision to initiate proceedings against Army and Manipur police personnel for alleged involvement in fake encounter cases in the state and also pleaded a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit to recuse themselves from monitoring the CBI probe in those cases.

A group of 350 defence personnel had moved the apex court claiming that exposing them to CBI and police prosecution for exigencies during operational encounters against insurgents will endanger “national security”.

Appearing before a bench of Justices Lokur and Lalit, which is monitoring the probe, attorney general K K Venugopal said, “I have instructions from the Union of India and we support the petition for good reasons. This (SC order) has shaken the morale of the armed forces. They do not understand why they are asked to face trial in cases which are decades old.”

Venugopal also alleged that there was apprehension among the accused armed force personnel that they would not get fair trial in the case because of adverse observations passed by the bench which had called the Manipur police personnel “murderers”.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for a group of officers, contended that there is a perception among the accused that the bench is biased against them and pleaded that the judges should recuse themselves from hearing the case as well refrain from monitoring the probe.

The bench, however, clarified that the observations were not made against any individual and the stand taken by them virtually meant that they did not have confidence in CBI for conducting impartial probe. “We have not seen a single paper of the investigation. We have not questioned why CBI has not filed chargesheet. We have purely gone by the assessment of CBI. Exchange of sentences did take place but it was not designed or directed against any individual as it happened during the discussion in the court with the CBI director,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who is representing the petitioners in fake encounter cases, strongly opposed the stand taken by the Centre and said, “It is an attempt to overawe the court

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