The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea by 300 serving Army officers, seeking recusal of judges of bench hearing the case on the alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is conducting the probe into the case.
A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit said that there was no reason for these policemen to doubt the SIT and the probe conducted by it in these cases. “There is no reason for Manipur cops to doubt the SIT conducting the probe in fake encounter cases,” the bench said, adding, “The institutional integrity of judiciary and CBI must be maintained.”
The apex court’s order came on a plea filed by some Manipur Police personnel who had sought recusal of judges of the bench, claiming they had earlier termed some accused, who were charge sheeted by the SIT in the encounter cases, as “murderers”. The plea by the officers was supported by the Centre.
The apex court, in July last year, had directed a thorough probe into the alleged fake encounter killings in Manipur saying the use of “excessive or retaliatory force” by the armed forces or police was not permissible in ‘disturbed areas’ under the controversial Armed Force Special Powers Act.