Fake Encounter Case: Court rejects Defence Ministry’s application on denial of prosecution sanction

IFP IMPACT: The Defence Ministry earlier pleaded the court that the proceedings in the matter be discontinued or dropped

(Representational Image: Pexels)

The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West, Manipur has rejected the plea of the Union Ministry of Defence to discontinue its proceedings in connection with the final report of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the alleged 2004 fake encounter case of Pheiroijam Sanajit.

The Defence Ministry earlier pleaded the court that the proceedings in the matter be discontinued or dropped citing lack of jurisdiction to take cognisance or proceed ahead in the matter in view of denial of prosecution sanction by the competent authority as per provision of section 197Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and section 6 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

It also stated in prayer that the family of the deceased or the informant are not entitled in law to submit any protest petition, objection or submission of the final report filed by the CBI before the court so as to persuade the magistrate to take cognisance of the offence. So, the protest petition or objection should not be entertained and is not being permissible by the law, it stated.

The alleged fake encounter in which Pheiroijam Sanajit was killed took place on the intervening night of May 30-31, 2004. The case has been investigated by the CBI. The investigation agency submitted its final report wherein it informed the court that the Defence Ministry denied to grant sanction to prosecute the accused, personnel of Dogra regiment, involved in the incident.

The Defence Ministry on December 2, 2019, denied the grant of sanction to prosecute the alleged accused persons. 

In response, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West on October 7, 2020, issued show cause as to why prosecution sanction should not be granted for prosecuting the accused persons.

Following the show cause order, the court had given time to file objections from the family of the victim and the Extra-judicial Execution Victim Families Association Manipur (EEVFAM).

On Saturday, advocate Jasobanta Singh, the standing counsel of appearing on behalf of the Union of India (Ministry of Defence) was present with captain Lauv Kumar, OIC (legal) of station HQ Leimakhong; advocate O Kiranjit Singh and advocate O Nutankumar, counsel representing victim’s family or EEVFAM; K Kipgen, CBI-Special Investiation Task Manipur were present during the hearing of the Defence Ministry’s miscellaneous cril petition.

Counsels of the Union of India and counsel of victim’s family or EEVFAM submitted the written argument in connection with the denial of prosecution sanction in respect of the alleged accused namely Girish Nair, then Major of 19 Rajput (now retired); Rahul Bal Mishra, the then captain of 19 Rajput; Ranbeer Singh, the then Havaldar of 19 Rajput; Abhay Pratap Singh, the then Sepoy of 19 Rajput was found liable for prosecution under sanction 302/342/201/34 IPC, 1860.

The court on perusal of the application of the ministry of defence stated that the application is without a basis and is liable to be rejected. It is a rule of procedure that when a final report under section 173 CrPC is filed by the investigation agency, the court has to exercise three options that are to take cognizance of the case; to close the case by observing that there is no point of proceeding the case in the light of denial prosecution sanction; to direct the investigation agency for further investigation in connection with the case.


First Published:Feb. 20, 2021, 11:24 p.m.

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