The Jammu and Kashmir government on 6 March told the Supreme Court that Major Aditya Kumar was not named as an accused in the FIR of the 27 January Shopian firing incident that left three civilians dead, PTI reported.
Taking on record the statement of the state government, the apex court said there should be no investigation against the major till 24 April in the case.
“Let the matter be listed for final disposal on 24 April. In the meantime, there shall be no investigation on the basis of FIR till then,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said.
Meanwhile, counsel Aishwariya Bhati told ANI that even though the order is not a big relief, the Union of India has come out in full support of the Indian Army.
Won’t say it’s a big relief just yet as court has modified the interim order to say that no investigation in terms of the FIR.What is interesting is that Union of India through AG came out with a completely supportive and unequivocal stand in favour of India Army.Aishwarya Bhati, Counsel to ANI
Lt Col (Retd) Karamveer Singh, seeking quashing of the FIR registered against his son Shopian firing incident case in a plea said that, “The decision would be taken by the court, I can't speak or comment on it.”
The apex court had on 12 February restrained the Jammu and Kashmir police from taking any "coercive steps" against Army officers, including Major Aditya Kumar, who was earlier reportedly named as accused in the case, PTI reported. The court had issued a notice to the Centre and the J&K government, seeking their response in two weeks.
On our prayer, the court has directed that no coercive action will be taken against Major Aditya Kumar in pursuance of the FIR lodged against him. It is a positive encouraging day.Advocate Aishwarya Bhati in her earlier address to the media.
Three civilians were killed when Army personnel fired at a stone-pelting mob in Ganovpora village of Shopian on 27 January this year, prompting the chief minister to order an inquiry into the incident.
The FIR was registered against personnel of 10 Garhwal Rifles under sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code (the penal code applicable in Jammu and Kashmir).
In a report, submitted on 30 January, Army officials said a personnel convoy was attacked by a group of stone-pelters and its personnel resorted to firing to save themselves.
The Army claimed it opened firing in self-defence after seven of its personnel were injured. It has also submitted photographs of the vehicles damaged in the stone pelting. The state government has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.
Case Lodged Against Kumar Hurts Army’s Morale: Father’s Plea
According to a PTI report, the army officer’s father, Lt Colonel Karamveer Singh, had earlier filed a plea seeking the quashing of the case lodged against Kumar, as it would “hurt the morale of the army while discharging duty.”
Singh told reporters that his son, a Major in 10 Garhwal Rifles, was "wrongly and arbitrarily" named in the FIR as the incident relates to an Army convoy that was on bona fide military duty in an area under the AFSPA and was isolated by an "unruly and deranged" mob pelting stones, causing damage to military vehicles, the PTI report added.
Karamveer Singh has said in his plea that his son's intention was to save Army personnel and property and the fire was inflicted "only to impair and provide a safe escape from a savage and violent mob engaged in terrorist activity."
The petitioner who was represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi had said that the matter the state of J&K police can’t take action against the Major in his discharge of duty.
The court acknowledging the fact that matter requires consideration of highest court of the land has stopped proceedings in FIR. The state or J&K police can’t take action against Major Aditya for what he did in excise of his duty.Advocate Mukul Rohtagi appearing on behalf of Centre
Singh has also referred to last year's incident of a mob lynching DSP Mohd Ayub Pandith to apprise the top court about the situation in the state and the condition in which Army officials were working to control violent mobs in Kashmir.
(With PTI, ANI inputs)
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