Security forces have launched a search operation against the militants. (Representative image) (AFP)
India's top court, the Supreme Court, has dismissed a curative petition of the federal government asking it to review its 2016 verdict making the armed forces accountable for civilian deaths during encounters in the "disturbed" areas of Manipur.
The top court decision implies that the government will now have to probe every allegation of an extra-judicial killing by the armed forces in the disturbed areas of the north eastern state.
The Supreme Court had in July last year ordered a probe into the alleged fake encounter killings in Manipur, ruling that the use of “excessive or retaliatory force” by the armed forces or police was not permissible in ‘disturbed areas’ under the controversial Armed Force Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
The top court had held that an army personnel could not be given absolute immunity from trial by a criminal court if he had committed an offence, irrespective of whether the victim was a terrorist, insurgent or a militant.
The court said that an investigation was necessary to address any allegation of use of excessive or retaliatory force beyond the call of duty.
The court's original judgement has attained finality with today's ruling.
A curative petition entitles an aggrieved person to relief against the final judgement of the Supreme Court, after dismissal of a review petition.
The court had earlier dismissed a review petition and declined a recall order in the matter.
The July 2016 judgement had come on the basis of a plea filed by hundreds of families in Manipur asking for a probe into the 1,528 cases of alleged fake encounters involving the Army and the police.
The government had challenged the verdict on the grounds that it would impact the morale of the armed forces and be detrimental during counter-insurgency operations in the state.