SC to AR: Pay 5 lakh for killing youth
NEWDELHI, 4th Jun: At a time when Armed Forces and Manipur police are facing Supreme Court ordered CBI probe into alleged extra-judicial killings of over 1500 persons in Manipur during 2002-2012, the SC on Wednesday asked Army's Assam Rifles to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to a mother whose son was found to have been killed by its personnel in 2009.
Appearing for the Union government, additional solicitor general Vikramjit Banerjee told a bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy that the Manipur High Court ordered payment of compensation to the mother despite investigation into the FIR lodged by Assam Rifles for the encounter not yet been complete.
But, the bench said there was no error in the HC's decision to direct payment of compensation to Oinam Ongbi Yaimabi Leima. The HC said it found from the District Judge's inquiry report that Leima's son was arrested by Assam Rifles on the intervening night of October 22-23, 2009 and that his death could not be termed as part of the encounter killing that happened on the night of October 30, 2009.
When Banerjee pressed on saying that the District Judge did not take into account the evidence submitted by the Assam Rifles, the bench rejected it and said, "some day you have all the wrong cases to argue." The bench had dismissed two more petitions argued by Banerjee prior to this one.
Assam Rifles had claimed that its personnel on a tip off about movement of terrorists had cordoned off an area in Andro Sanapat locality. Finding the escape routes closed, the terrorists opened fire with automatic weapons and in retaliatory fire by Assam Rifles personnel seven terrorists were killed, including Oinam Anand Meetei, the Army said.
Anand's mother moved the Gauhati HC seeking CBI probe and compensation for her son's killing. Her petition was transferred to Manipur HC after its formation and the HC on January 28, 2011 directed the District Judge of Manipur East to inquire into Anand's death. The District Judge in his report termed it an extra-judicial killing saying Anand was in Assam Rifles' custody since October 22.
The HC on December 7, 2018 directed Assam Rifles to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation to the mother within six months after accepting the DJ's report, which it said was "conclusive leaving no room for hesitation and disbelief." Assam Rifles complained in its appeal against the HC order that the District Judge refused to take into account the evidence produced by them to support the killing during the encounter and said that the HC had failed to take into account the fact that its FIR of November 1, 2009 with police was pending investigation.
On July 14, 2017, the SC had directed the CBI to investigate alleged extra-judicial killings of 1,528 persons by Army, Assam Rifles and Manipur police in Manipur between 2000 and 2012.