Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted before the Social Justice Bench of the Supreme Court that armed conflicts like the Manipur encounters were akin to a war like situation where it is “either him or me”..These submissions were made even as Amicus Curiae Menaka Guruswamy submitted that inherent jurisdiction of criminal courts will subsist despite an existing court martial procedure. The amicus also argued that there were “clear patterns of transgression and impunity by security personnel“ in the north-eastern state..History.The case relates to alleged fake encounters by security forces in Manipur resulting in the death of seven persons. In a petition filed by Extra Judicial Execution Victims’ Families Association, the Supreme Court had, vide its order dated January 4, 2013, appointed a three member Commission headed by Justice Santosh Hegde to make an inquiry into the six cases of encounters..The establishment of the three-member Commission was seen as a significant victory by the people of Manipur..Babloo Loitongbam, one of the foremost human rights activists in the region, recounts how the Commission provided the people with a “sense of hope”..“They are smiling a lot more; these are people who were completely desperate. There is a little bit of hope that has come up and I think that is very, very essential – to give that sense of hope.”.The Commission was also directed to record its finding on the past antecedents of the victims and prepare a report on the functioning of the State Police, and security forces in Manipur..After a detailed inquiry, the Commission had concluded that the six cases referred to it were not genuine encounters and also found that none of the 7 victims had any criminal antecedents. The Commission had recorded these findings and conclusion in its report submitted to the Court on March 30, 2013..Meanwhile, in similar writ petitions filed before the Gauhati High Court, judicial inquires were conducted by District and Sessions Judge pursuant to High Court orders. In total, 11 Judicial Inquiry Reports were filed before the High Court, in addition to 7 Commission of Inquiry Reports that were submitted by various Commissions of Inquiry set up by the Manipur government..These reports stated that the victims were killed from fake encounters and not from exchange of firing as claimed by the security forces..“If he fires one bullet, we might retaliate with twenty”.In the hearing yesterday, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that “it is the defense of India” which is a “him or me” situation..“It is our case that these people were “enemies” under AFSPA and it is the bounden duty of the Army to act. This is defence of India”, he submitted..It was no holds barred as Rohatgi proceeded to describe the combat procedure followed by the security forces..“Our instructions are that we should not start the firing. We first try to apprehend the person. If he runs, we pursue. Then if he opens fire, we retaliate. But the retaliatory fire will be by all members of our platoon. If he fires one bullet, I might fire twenty. It is an Army operation. It is a situation akin to war.”.He also suggested that Justice Hegde’s suggestions cannot be applied in such situation while also arguing for rejecting the Hegde Commission’s report..Reliefs suggested by Amicus Curiae.Countering the AG’s submissions, Guruswamy has made a number of suggestions and observations in her written submissions including,.Initiation of prosecution against security personnel found responsible for the fake encounters in the Judicial Inquiry reports and Commission of Inquiry Reports.Grant of legal sanction under Section 6 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to proceed with the prosecution despite grant of compensation (as laid down in the five judge Bench decision of Naga People’s Movement of Human Rights v. Union of India)Direction by the court for prosecution and trial in 15 cases (out of the 62 cases raised in the petition) to be conducted outside the State of Manipur.Constitution of Special Investigation Team for the investigation of remaining 47 cases.Establishment of fast track courts to try the cases and appointment of Special Public Prosecutor to conduct the prosecution case..Guruswamy has also submitted that there is over militarisation in the State of Manipur with 877 police personnel per 1 lakh population while the national average hovers around 137 per 1 lakh..The report also states that,.“The Hegde Commission, various reports of Judicial Inquiries and Commissions of Inquiry have found cases of fake encounter and / or gross abuse of powers by security forces…..For the State to allow for a lack of remedial action in the face of clear patterns of transgression and impunity by security personnel would violate the hallmark of Indian Constitutionalism – the rule of law, the rights to life, dignity and fair trial.”.The hearing in the case will resume on December 8..Image taken from here.