Published On: Tue, Mar 6th, 2018

Major not named in FIR, SC stays probe for now

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New Delhi : In a dramatic turn of events, the Jammu and Kashmir Government on Monday told the Supreme Court that Major Aditya Kumar was not named in the FIR in connection with the Shopian firing on January 27 in which three civilians were killed.

During hearing of a petition filed by Major Kumar’s father Lt Col Karamveer Singh seeking quashing of the FIR, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade told a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that the column in the FIR meant for mentioning the names of  “accused”  was blank.

Naphade’s statement came after the CJI sought to know the allegations against the officer.  “He is an Army officer and not an ordinary criminal,” the Bench, also comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud, observed.

The Bench, which had on February 12 stayed criminal proceedings against the Major, fixed April 24 to finally dispose of the matter. It said the investigation shall remain stayed till the next date of hearing. On behalf of the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal supported the petitioner and criticised the state for registering a criminal case against a serving Army officer without sanction from the Centre.

Naphade opposed the stay on investigation, saying: “Nobody has the licence to kill… Let the probe continue. The court has already protected the officer by saying that no coercive steps shall be taken against the officer.”

“Everyday soldiers are being killed. Mobs gather outside police stations to pelt stones. Do they have a licence?” the Attorney General countered. He quoted Section 7 of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1990, under which no prosecution can be launched against a serving Army officer without prior permission from the Centre.

However, Naphade said the Centre’s permission was not required to file an FIR and it would be required only at the time of filing of charge-sheet.  Three civilians were killed on January 27 when the Army fired at a stone-pelting mob in Shopian village.


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