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Judicial probes on Manipur encounters 'biased': Army to SC

Judicial probes on Manipur encounters biased: Army to SC
A day after it was rapped by the Supreme Court for remaining silent over rape and murder charges against its personnel in Manipur, the Army on Wednesday said the judicial probes conducted into these charges were "biased" and slanted against them due to local factors.

It alleged that the district judges, who were locals, had conducted the judicial inquiries into the alleged killings and local factors came in the way of the probe reports which went against the armed forces.

"The problem in every case is that the slant of judicial inquiry was against us. Judicial inquiries which have been done by a district judge proceeded against us by the virtue of their local apprehensions or local positions. Army's job is not to kill its own people," Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a bench of Justices M B Lokur and U U Lalit. Citing an example, Rohatgi said if the Army goes after two terrorists holed up in a civilian area and in cross-fire some people are killed, then it cannot be held guilty for these casualties.

"We are in our own country. If army is disbelieved, then the whole system will go haywire and cannot work. The inquiry officers were biased due to their local considerations," Rohatgi said, adding the judicial probes were not conducted by the High Court which had tasked the district judges to inquire into the allegations of extra-judicial killings. He said the Army in Manipur was operating in a very difficult situation and needed to be trusted as it cannot stage-manage the killing of its own people.

"Army is operating in insurgency-prone areas of Manipur in difficult circumstances and it cannot be disbelieved. It cannot be said that I have stage-managed to kill my own people," he said, adding that compensation has been paid wherever the High Court has directed.

To this, the bench said "compensation cannot be a substitute for everything".

Rohatgi responded to the remark saying none of the kin of the victims have complained and compensation was paid to their satisfaction.

"In criminal law, victim compensation is immaterial and the victim satisfaction can only be considered when there are compoundable offences," the bench said. The Attorney General urged the apex court that no decision should be taken on the judicial inquiry reports of district judges due to their local bias.
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