Union Defence Minister, AK Antony, Wednesday informed the Rajya Sabha that Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Srinagar, has asked for certain information from Army regarding the closure of the Pathribal fake encounter case.
While responding to a question of GN Ratanpuri, the minister said that five civilians were killed during an encounter at Pathribal on 25th March 2000 in a joint operation launched by the Army and the Police.
He added that Justice SR Pandian Commission of Inquiry does not relate to Pathribal case. However, CBI had presented a Challan in the Pathribal case before the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) cum Spl. Magistrate CBI, Srinagar on May 9, 2006 wherein they indicted 5 Army personnel for these killings.
Antony further said that the Court of CJM, Srinagar issued notice to Army authorities regarding taking over the case for disposal under Army Act. The validity of the action taken by the CJM was challenged by the Army on the ground that prior sanction of the Central Government ought to have been taken as per Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1990. However, the application of the Army was disallowed by CJM, Srinagar.
The minister said that the Army challenged the matter before the High Court of J&K at Srinagar, which was also dismissed. Aggrieved by this, the minister said, a SLP was filed before the Supreme Court.
He added that in terms of the Judgment of Supreme Court, the case was taken over by the Army.
“As per laid down legal procedure under relevant Army Act and Army Rules, Hearing of Charge was conducted and Summary of Evidence was recorded from witnesses in the case,” the minister said adding “after examining the evidence contained in the Summary of Evidence, prima-facie case against these 5 Army personnel was not established and the case was therefore closed by Army.”
He said that meanwhile, CJM, Srinagar has asked for certain information from Army in this case.