JK govt says Major Aditya not named in FIR, SC stays probe

Srinagar, Mar 05: Supreme Court on Monday put on hold the investigation into the killing of three civilians at Shopian in January at the hands of an army unit headed by Major Aditya Kumar.
The apex court issued an order after the JK government declared that the Major has not been named in the FIR registered by the police.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, ordered the JK government to put the investigation on hold till April 24, when it would deliver its ruling in this case.
“After all, it is a case of an army officer, not an ordinary criminal,” the Chief Justice observed.
Asked if the Major would not be named as an accused, the Jammu and Kashmir government indicated that it could not make any commitments.
“It depends on investigation,” the state government said.
The army officer’s father, Lieutenant Colonel Karamveer Singh, has filed the petition last month, asking the SC to cancel the FIR against his son, calling it “bad in law”.
The central government told the SC that the JK police could not have registered a case against the Major and other personnel without their permission in view of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is in force in the state.
Shoeb Alam, JK’s standing counsel in the SC, said the government of India told the SC that further investigation into the matter “may be stayed because there is a requirement to take sanction for registering of an FIR against army officer”.
“JK government showed five pre-judgments to the SC, which says there is no requirement for taking sanction at the stage of registering of an FIR. Requirement of sanction against an Army officer is to be taken at the stage of cognizance. There is no bar in registering FIR therefore the proceedings can’t be stayed,” Alam told The Kashmir Monitor.
“The SC said it has to examine the issue and post the matter to the final disposal on April 24 till that time no further investigations against Major Kumar.”
Three civilians were killed when the army fired in Ganowpora village in Shopian in January. The army had stressed that its personnel fired when they were “provoked to the ultimate”.
The state government contested this version, asserting that there was no restriction on the police registering a case.
When if Major Aditya’s name is in the FIR, Alam replied, “His (Kumar’s) name is there, but he is not the accused. FIR is registered into the incident, stone pelting and firing by the army. It will be known only whether he is the accused or not only when investigation is started. Army is not coming forward neither cooperating. The SC also said that police is bound to register an FIR.”
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, has assured that the case would be taken to its “logical conclusion”.
The BJP, which is part of the ruling alliance in the state, raised strong objections. However, Mufti had said the action was taken after consultations with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
On February 12, the Supreme Court had restrained the police from taking any coercive steps against Kumar.

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