SC to hear plea on BSF’s alleged atrocities on India-Bangladesh border

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hold a detailed hearing of a plea seeking probe by the Special Investigating Team into the alleged torture, rape and extra-judicial killings by Border Security Force (BSF) personnel on the India-Bangladesh border.

The bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice D.Y.Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul decided to hold a detailed hearing of the matter as lawyer Bijan Ghose urged the court to examine the vires of the Border Security Force Act’s Section 46 and Section 47.

Ghose appeared for Kolkata-based NGO Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, which has claimed that more than 200 Indian nationals were victim of torture and extra-judicial killings by the BSF between 2005 and 2011.

Section 46 provides for civil offences triable by a BSF court and Section 47 for civil offences not triable by it.

“If the action by the BSF personnel is in consequent to the discharge of their duties, then it is genuine and otherwise it is not,” observed Chief Justice Khehar as Ghose said that none of 200 court of inquiries conducted by the BSF against their men resulted in any conviction, while the National Human Rights Commission granted compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each in four to five cases.

Ghose also said that ever since Supreme Court issued notice in 2012 on the NGO’s plea seeking SIT probe into the alleged atrocities, the number of their cases have come down.

The BSF, the NGO had said, “operate above the law, their mechanical explanations as to how death came about is accepted as true in all cases, the statements of the eye witnesses are not recorded since no investigation is done and the case is closed”.

Urging the top court to lay down the procedure to be followed by the state police and the courts in dealing with such cases, the NGO had alleged that “these routine killings by the BSF and their brutal manner of operating has caused grave resentment in the public who have come to believe that the law will never be implemented”.

“Even assuming the BSF courts are validly constituted, is it not arbitrary, irrational and harsh that not even a single one of the 200 cases of torture, murder and rape did the BSF authorities begin criminal prosecution and departmental action against the BSF personnel concerned,” the petition had asked.