TODAY -
MHRC reccomends repeal of AFSPA, 1958
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, April 28 2010: Manipur Human Rights Commission today recommended the government of India to repeal the Armed Forces (Special) Power Act, 1958 terming the Act as an "unreasonable, unjust, unfair and unconstitutional piece of legislation," while recommending to repeal the Act to the Indian Government.

"We, having been minutely examined the Act in the light of immediate preceding mother Ordinance, Armed Forces (Special Powers) Ordinance, 1942, forwarded the recommendation to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs," member of the MRHC, Ng Nongyai said today adding copies of the recommendation have also been provided to the National Human Rights Commission and states right commissions.

Nongyai said the MHRC made the recommendation after thoroughly examined the AFSPA 1958 with reference to the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Ordnance, 1942 which was extended to the whole of India without discrimination.

Being observed that the Act becomes a discriminatory and unjustified legislation by deviating from the said mother ordinance in its application and gravest violation of human rights in North East India particularly in the state of Manipur, the commission made the recommendation for repeal of the Act, he said.

"Members of the Armed Forces specially by inexperienced ad not-well-educated sepoys, abuse AFSPA by committing rape, molestation of women, killing of innocent persons in the name of encounter, prolonged detention of arrested persons without handing over to the police etc.," he observed.

The purpose for which AFPSA was enacted, that is to prevent secession of the North-East from the Union of India, after India's independence on August 15, 1947 is not served.

Instead it is discriminatory as the application is likely to segregate North-East from the rest of India.

The north eastern part is an integral part of the Union of India governed by her Constitution and the laws made thereafter and people of the region feel that they are equal in the eye of law.

They are also entitled to the right to equality before the law and the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution of the country and AFSPA being applicable only to North-East people.

It is violative of Article 14 protection and the insurgency in a democratic state can be ultimately solved by political means, and not exclusively by bullet, the MHRC observed in the recommendation for repeal of the Act.

When examined AFSPA in the light of the Constitution of India and relevant international human rights instruments such as relevant provisions of UN Charter (1945), UDHR (1948), ICCPR (1966) etc.

the commission viewed that section 3 of the Act is ambiguous inasmuch as the section does not give the definition of "disturbed area" in consequence, the definition of 'disturbed area' gien in section 2(b) is meaningless.

The section 4 of the Act is violative of Article 21 of the Indian Constitutio, UDHR, ICCR (Articles 6, 7 and 8) section 4 of the Act license any member of the Armed forces upto the rank of the non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank to use a variety of forces even including the power to shoot to kill any person for maintenance of public order in a disturbed area.

Section 5 of the act does not define the expression "with the least possible delay", the section 6 giving protection to the persons acting under the Act against prosecution suit or legal proceeding except with the previous sanction of the Central government has become anachronistic, outdated and obsolete.

The MRHC also while expressing support to the recommendation of the Committee to Review AFPSA, 1958 of Union ministry of home affairs, 2005 to repeal the Act or replace it by an appropriate legislation and said that the recommendation is reasonable and acceptable.

It also recalled the recommendation 17th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (held on February 19 to March 9, 2007) which urged "The state party (India) to repeal the AFSPA and replace it by a more humane Act" .


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