New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said it would examine a plea filed by family members of five civilians killed in an alleged fake encounter in Pathribal area of south Kashmir in 2000, seeking CBI trial against the accused army personnel.
The matter reached the apex court after the Jammu and Kashmir High Court dismissed the plea of the family members last year. “Issue notice. Let the matter be listed for final disposal after six weeks,” a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, AM Khanwilkar and MM Shantanagoudar said.
Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan appearing for Nazir Ahmad Dalal, maternal uncle of Zahoor Ahmad Dalal, one of the victims of the alleged fake encounter, said that the army has not conducted the court martial against the accused personnel. She said that Jammu and Kashmir High Court was wrong in summarily dismissing the plea.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, said he had filed the response to the plea. The bench said it was listing the matter for final disposal after six weeks and issued notice to the Centre, Army and CBI on the plea.
The apex court had on October 7, 2016, asked for the copy of the petition to be served to the Centre, so that its counsel could assist the court. The victim’s kin in their plea had sought resumption of trial before the CBI court after the army personnel were exonerated by the court of inquiry.
In 2012, the apex court had given an option of conducting the trial against the army men either through court martial or criminal court, after which the military had opted for the former alternative.
Dalal had filed the plea against the High Court’s April 27, 2016, order which summarily dismissed the families’ plea seeking criminal court proceedings before a CBI court for the alleged killing of five civilians on March 25, 2000. The CBI had in 2006 indicted five men of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) for the killing of the five civilians, of whom three were dubbed as Pakistani terrorists responsible for the massacre of 36 Sikhs at Chittisinghpura area of Anantnag district. Two other civilians were allegedly claimed to be unknown terrorists.
The state government had ordered the CBI probe, which on the basis of DNA tests identified the bodies as of civilians. They were identified as Zahoor Ahmad Dalal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Mohammad Yousuf Malik, Jumma Khan and Jumma Khan.
The CBI found that the killed persons sustained about 98 percent burn injuries in addition to the bullet injuries, indicating use of excessive and unwarranted force.
“It is impossible for the killed persons to suffer such extensive burn injuries in a genuine encounter. The encounter was staged with a view to obliterate the identity of killed persons,” the plea filed by the families of the five civilians had said.
“The Army by resort to the special procedure under the Army Act has declared it to be a case of no evidence, which finding has been arrived at in a wholly opaque process and in the face of established record,” the plea said.