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Government gets court notice on deaths in army's Kashmir action

Monday January 23, 2012 08:58:56 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Faced with resistance to action against armymen allegedly involved in the killing of five people in Kashmir in 2000, the Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the central government on the army's stand that no proceedings could be initiated against its officers without its prior sanction.

"Whatever may be the scheme of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the victims could not be left remediless," the court said.

Five people were killed by the army in the wake of the March 20, 2000, massacre of 36 Sikhs in a gurudwara in a village in Anantnag district of Kashmir. The victims, who were initially described as militants, later turned out to be innocent.

The apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar said that "these officers (accused of killing five people) have nothing but to protect themselves but the Union of India has the duel responsibility of protecting its genuine officers and the administration of justice to the citizens".

The court, at the very outset of the hearing, told the army that if army did not want to take it up the matter that was another matter, but these arguments being advanced about its immunity and prior sanction would not stand.

While issuing the notice, the court observed: "You (Army) are creating a situation where no body can proceed. You are yourself not doing anything and not allowing other to do anything."

The court issued the notice during the hearing of an appeal by the army challenging the jurisdiction of Central Bureau of Investigation for initiating court proceedings against its officers involved in the alleged killing of five people.




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