Srinagar: Repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), according to legal experts will not make any difference. The security personnel shall continue to enjoy impunity under normal laws.
President High Court Bar Association, Mian Abdul Qayoom while addressing a press conference two years ago said the Bar would challenge section 549 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the High Court. According to him, this section is as dangerous as Section 6 AFSPA. This also gives an option to a trooper to make a choice between court martial and trial in a civil court.
“If any trooper or his official has committed any crime why should he be given the choice of opting for the court martial instead of facing trial in a civil court? There is a great scope for challenging it. We will cite scores of human right cases involving BSF, Army and other paramilitary forces, where no justice has been provided to the families of the victims as the accused preferred court martial,” Qayoom said.
He also said the troopers always prefer court martial as such proceedings take place away from the public glare and the fate of the trial is not known. “Even the witnesses are grilled callously and they find the atmosphere quite hostile,” he added.
Pertinently the CrPC was enacted way back in nineteenth century but till date a few people have commented on its deadly fangs. “In actual practice, Section 6 of the AFSPA has been overtaken by Section 549 of the Criminal Procedure Code to provide virtual impunity to the armed forces. Impunity has been made a feature of normal criminal jurisprudence. In fact Section 549 of CrPC has made section 6 of AFSPA redundant,” legal experts believe.
Noted human rights defender Advocate Parvez Imroz said: “Being an ordinary law, Section 549 of the CrPC is simply overlooked. The human rights defenders and all those who have been demanding repeal of AFSPA must go through Section 549 CrPC as well.”
According to him, no conscious citizen can uphold draconian laws. “But why should the axe fall on AFSPA only. It seems the politicians and human rights defenders are scared of demanding repeal of Section 197 CrPC,” he remarked.