Manipur alleged encounters SC asks HC to decide issue of sanction to prosecute in 6 months

 The Supreme Court Thursday asked the Manipur High Court to decide within six months the issue of grant of sanction to prosecute the security personnel accused of extrajudicial killings in Manipur from 2000 to 2012. A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi, meanwhile, permitted the CBI to grant some additional work to the investigators of the apex Court-appointed SIT after Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati said the probe entrusted to them in the alleged extra-judicial killings was over.
The law officer said status reports have been filed from time to time in the matter, and out of the 39 cases probed by the SIT, charge sheets have been submitted in 19 and closure reports in 18. In 39 cases, which were investigated by the agency pursuant to the apex Court’s order, the oldest case was of 1984.
Your lordships had said that every single allegation need not be enquired into, Bhati said, adding Government officials may now be permitted to do some additional work as the probe was over.
Senior lawyers Colin Gonsalves and Maneka Guruswamy, however, contested the submission that the probe in all cases was over.
The lawyers said what is being investigated by the SIT was only one part and the rest of the task was still unfinished and incomplete. At the outset, the CJI, who will demit office on November 8, said he will not be able to finish the hearing in the case and ordered its listing before another bench on November 15.
“I have a difficulty, I cannot take up matters which are going to take long. I would rather adjourn the matter. Since the time I used to sit with Justice (MB) Lokur (since retired) in the Bench, this matter has not been taken up,” the CJI said.
The matter shall be gone into principally on two issues namely the status report submitted by the authorities and whether certain additional cases are needed to be inquired into or investigated into as projected by Guruswamy and Gonsalves. Let this matter be listed before an appropriate Court, the Court recorded in its order.
On the issue of sanction, it said, “We request the High Court to decide this preferably in 6 months after receipt of this order.” The Court also permitted one of the pleas which sought its nod for granting voluntary retirement to an SIT investigator.
Earlier on May 12, the apex Court had asked the Centre to file a status report on the investigation conducted so far by the SIT into alleged extrajudicial killings in the North Eastern State from 2000 to 2012.
The top Court, which was hearing a PIL seeking a probe into 1,528 cases of alleged extra-judicial killings, had on July 14, 2017 constituted an SIT and ordered registration of FIRs to probe such incidents. The direction was issued on a petition filed by Extra Judicial Execution Victim and The Human Rights Alert.
The organisation said it has compiled a report on 1528 alleged extrajudicial executions carried out by the security forces in the State.
Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner, had said out of 655 cases, which were to be probed by the SIT, only 39 cases have been investigated. Inquiries in the rest have been abandoned, he alleged. Additional Solicitor General Bhati had contested his claims. Earlier, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur (since retired), and UU Lalit, now CJI, was hearing the case and had asked the SIT to file the final reports in four cases of alleged fake encounters by the Army, Assam Rifles, and the Manipur Police in the appropriate Courts.  PTI