The Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association, Manipur (EEVFAM) and the Human Rights Alert (HRA) have welcomed the July 4 judgment of the Session Judge (Imphal West) Manipur in the Pheiroijam Sanajit killing case.
EEVFAM stated in a release that the judgment was pronounced following a revision petition filed by the Union Defence Ministry challenging the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West seeking a reference for clarification and guidance of the Manipur High Court on 10 seminal questions pertaining to the issue of prosecution sanction.
Following are the 10 question quoted by EEVFAM in the statement:
1. Whether the Defence Ministry can deny the grant of prosecution sanction against the accused persons (who are defence personnel) despite the fact the CBI found a strong prima facie material evidence for commission of serious offences punishable under Section 302/342/201 read with Section 34 IPC by the accused persons?
2. Whether, at this stage, the Defence Ministry is empowered to project a fact situation contrary to the prima facie findings of the CBI (which is the investigating agency specially entrusted by the Apex Court in this regard)? In other words, can the Defence Ministry at this stage project a fact situation thereby indicating that the prima facie findings of CBI against the accused persons are all wrong and that the victim Pheiroijam Sanajit was killed by the accused persons in an ambush during the course of official duty in lawful exercise of the powers conferred by law?
3. Can the Defence Ministry take the role of investigating agency in the present case at the present stage of the case?
4. Whether the detailed and reasoned order dated December 2, 2019 passed by the Defence Ministry, asserting that Sanajit was killed by the accused persons in an ambush during the course of official duty in lawful exercise of the powers conferred by law, is legally tenable?
5. Whether the benefit/protection of Section 6 of AFSPA can be extended in all given situations, including blatant abuse or misuse of official position by defence personnel?
6. Will a defence personnel get the protection of Section 6 of AFSPA even in such a given situation, for instance, where he (defence Personnel) keeps on firing/killing all passers-by without any reason while he (defence personnel) is on patrolling/during official duty?
7. Whether the act of killing Sanajit by the accused persons be considered as an act done during the course of official duty in lawful exercise of the powers conferred by law in the light of the prima facie findings of the CBI?
8. Whether the accused persons be given protection under Section 6 of AFSPA even in cases where re-investigation was done by the CBI on the specific instruction/direction of Supreme Court of India?
9. Whether prosecution sanction is required, as per law, in case of the Accused No 1 namely Girish Nair, the then Major, 19 Rajput (Bikaner) who is now retired from service?
10. Whether the victim’s family, EEVFAM has a right to file protest petition in the given fact situation of denial of prosecution sanction by the Defence Ministry?
It is revealed that the then district and session, Manipur East submitted the Judicial Enquiry Report (JER), dated July 31, 2017 to the Gauhati High Court (Imphal Bench) in connection with the killing of Sanajit. The High Court (then Gauhati High Court, Imphal Bench) on finding material substance against the accused persons passed an order on July 29, 2011, thereby awarded a sum of Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the wife of deceased P Sanajit.
Now the question is: “Will the proceeding of the present case remain stagnant or futile exercise or empty formality even after aforesaid finding of Judicial Enquiry and subsequent award by the High Court on the ground of denial of prosecution sanction against the accused persons?
"Will the court have the power to take cognizance of the present case even in the face of denial of prosecution sanction by the competent authority?"