Major Aditya can’t be treated as ‘ordinary criminal’: SC on Shopian firing probe

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday noted that Major Aditya cannot be treated like an ordinary criminal. The apex court thus put the probe, into the Shopian stone-pelting case, on hold. Three civilians had killed when army officers had reportedly open fired in self-defence.

Jammu and Kashmir government had filed an FIR against the Army officers, charging them with murder and assault. Responding to it, the attorney General KK Venugopal on Monday supporting the PIL filed by Major’s father in the court, said the FIR could not be lodged.

“This cannot be done in view of the Army Act and in terms of the judgments by the Supreme Court. We are supporting the petition,” the A-G told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, News18 reported.

Senior lawyer Shekhar Naphade, representing the Jammu and Kashmir government, started by saying that Major Aditya has not been named as an accused in the FIR “till date”. Naphade then said it would depend on the investigation, whether to name him later.

“So you can rope him in later… no, you cannot proceed against him. He is the only officer identified in the FIR as well,” the court told Naphade. The state government then sought to assert its authority to register an FIR and investigate but the A-G opposed this, saying the judgments being relied upon by Naphade have ignored ruling by a Constitution Bench.

Naphade resisted the order to give investigation a halt, but the bench said: “You cannot treat him like an ordinary criminal.”

The state then asked the bench: “But does this give them a licence to kill?” Venugopal replied, saying, “When hundreds of army men are being killed, state counsel should not make such arguments.”

The court then ordered the government from investigating the case any further until the bench hears this case next on April 24.