Pathribal: Court gives Army 4 weeks to furnish its verdict copy

Srinagar: A local court here on Thursday granted Army four weeks to furnish a copy of its court-martial judgment in the infamous Pathribal fake encounter case of 2000.
As the petition filed by one of the victim families came up for hearing before Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar Verinder Singh Bahu, advocate Majid Fazli, representing the Army, moved an application seeking eight weeks to furnish the copy of the court-martial judgment. He also sought to file response to the petition filed by the victim family within the time frame.
The court however granted only four weeks to the Army counsel for filing response to the petition as well as to furnish copy of the judgment and other documents.
Finding the contentions raised in the petition as “genuine, well-founded and bracketed with the principles of fair trial and natural justice,” the court had earlier directed Brigadier Adjutant to reply to the petition or furnish copies of the court-martial verdict along with copies of the CBI chargesheet and documents annexed therewith before the next date posted on February 10.
The CJM had said the documents will form part of the information rendered to the court pursuant to conclusion of General Court Martial (GCM) proceedings by the “competent military authority.”
The Army court-martial had on January 20 ruled that no prima facie case was made against its five officers blamed for murdering five civilians in a fake encounter on March 26, 2000 at Pathribal in south Kashmir. The victims had been passed off as foreign militants by the Army.
In 2006, the CBI had indicted the five officers—Brig Ajay Saxena, Lt. Col. Brajendra Pratap Singh, Maj. Sourabh Sharma, Maj. Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan—for the cold-blood murder of the five civilians.
In his petition, Nazir, kin of one of the slain civilians, had said the challan was produced by the CBI Special Branch Chandigarh before the CJM Srinagar against the Army officials. The court had handed over the challan to the Army for court-martial in view of the direction of the Supreme Court.
The petitioner had said the court-martial closed the case of the CBI and only a letter has been forwarded to CJM Srinagar for Information.
“It is mentioned that the challan is closed as no prima-facie case is made against the accused, but no detailed judgment has been produced before this court which was mandatory for the court martial,” Nazir said in the petition filed through advocate M Ashraf Bhat, general secretary of the Kashmir High Court Bar Association.
“The family members of the civilians who were killed in the fake encounter are not able to approach the Army court or the CBI Special Branch Chandigarh for obtaining the copy of detailed judgment and also the copy of the challan,” Nazir said.
He said the victims’ kin were interested to agitate the matter before the J&K High Court. Therefore, he said, all records pertaining to the case be furnished to the applicant for seeking the appropriate remedy.