TODAY -
MHRC recommends HM to repeal AFSPA
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 28 2010: Contending that it is 'unreasonable, unjust, unfair and unconstitutional piece of legislation', Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has recommended to the Union Home Secretary to repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1985 .

It is said that the recommendation has been made after two members of the Commission namely RS Rajkumar and Ng Nongyai examined the Act minutely.

Talking to mediapersons in this regard at the office of the MHRC at Lamphelpat today afternoon, Ng Nongyai conveyed that the copies of the same recommendations have also been forwarded to National Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Commissions of other States and the Home Secretary of Manipur.

He pointed out that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Ordinance, 1942, the immediate preceding ordinance of the present Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1985 had been enforced without any discrimination all over India.

But Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has been imposed only in North Eastern States in a segregating way.

Again, among the Northeastern States, the provisions of the Act are being misused in Manipur all the more specially by the inexperienced and not well educated sepoys, thus resulting in gravest violation of human rights, Nongyai said, adding that many incidents of rape, molestation, killing of innocent persons in the name of encounters, prolonged detention of arrested persons without handing over to the police, etc have taken place.

In its recommendation, the Commission contended that Section 3 of the Act is ambiguous as the said Section does not give the definition of 'Disturbed Area' and the definition of 'disturbed area' given in Section-2(b) is meaningless.

This ambiguity is the source of undefined and unlimited power on the part of the executive Government to declare an area to be a 'disturbed area' under the Act.

The recommendation of the Commission further pointed out that Section 4 of the Act is violative of Article21 of the Constitution of India as it licenses any member of the Armed forces upto to the rank of non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank to shoot to kill a person for the maintenance of public order in a 'disturbed area'.

The Section 5 of the Act does not define the expression, 'with the least possible delay'.

Hence it gives a chance to the arresting authorities/officers to interpret the expression in their own away for the handing over of the arrested persons to the police thereby flagrantly violating the Constitutional guarantee of Article 22 (1), 22 (2) and Section 57 of CrPC.

Section 6 of the Act giving protection to the persons acting under the Act against prosecution, suit or legal proceeding expect without the previous sanction of the Central Govt has become anachronistic, outdated and obsolete.

The Commission, however, made it clear the recommendation of the Committee to Review AFSPA, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, 2005, to repeal the Act or replace it by an appropriate legislation based on fundamental human rights and freedom embodied in International Human Rights instruments as well as the 5th report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission of the Government of India which recommended repealing of AFSPA are acceptable.

In its recommendation, Commission also pointed out that Government of India had been urged to repeal AFSPA in the 17th session of the UN Commission of the elimination of racial discrimination (held in February-March, 2007) .


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