Vivek Chadha's Armed Forces Special Powers Act: The Debate PDF

By Vivek Chadha

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Extra resources for Armed Forces Special Powers Act: The Debate

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According to the available statistics, 72 per cent of the cases have been closed at the behest of the civil administration, police, courts and victims, complainants or their relatives. 6 per cent were more than 10-12 years old. Their details were either not available or if available, too sketchy. Even police investigations were inconclusive and no headway could be made. 5 per cent cases of human rights allegations are those filed by the next of kin (NoK) of army personnel killed in action against terrorists.

Its continuance has indeed become what Georgio Agamben termed a permanent “state of exception”, during which the civil rights of citizens or a section of citizens of a state are wilfully and severely curtailed by the state. The discussion on the issue is once again on the front burner, after the report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Christof Heyns and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, in the strongest terms derided the continuance of this Act as a dark blemish on the democratic credentials of India.

Nevertheless, if it is decided that the operation of the law must continue, it is essential that the process to be followed in applying that law must be spelt out, as in any other law, with details of how the powers conferred by the law are to be exercised. It is by this means that the AFSPA, if it is to be retained, must be brought into full conformity with the principles which must dictate it’s functioning, including adherence to the principles of the CrPC, laid down by the Supreme Court. Although the army may have instructions or general orders on how powers must be exercised, these can hardly be a substitute for statutory Rules, enforceable by courts of law in a country which prides itself on the rule of law.

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Armed Forces Special Powers Act: The Debate by Vivek Chadha


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