Manipur fake encounters: SC dismisses police plea on judges’ recusal

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea by several Manipur Police personnel seeking recusal of judges of a bench hearing extra-judicial killings in the state.

A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice U.U. Lalit dismissed the plea holding that it was without any basis.

Reiterating its earlier directions, Justice Lokur ordered that the investigating authorities should go ahead without being influenced by any of the observation made by the court by its July 20 order.

Earlier, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, on behalf of the Centre, supported the petitioners saying the armed forces face difficult situations in areas like Manipur and have to adopt various methods to deal with situation at hand.

Venugopal had said the reported remarks of the bench that the security personnel were “murderers” had “completely shaken” the morale of the police and armed forces.

Besides the personnel of Manipur Police, the court has also been moved by over 300 serving Army officers and personnel against the dilution of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that gives immunity to the military from prosecution for actions in disturbed areas where it is in force.

The court has been hearing the main case which was a PIL seeking a probe into as many as 1,528 cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur.

On July 14, 2017, the apex court set up a Special Investigation Team comprising CBI officers and ordered registration of FIRs and investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur.

The court had ordered the registration of FIRs in 81 cases, including 32 probed by a Commission of Inquiry, 32 investigated by judicial authorities, 11 in which compensation was awarded and six probed by a Commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde.