Monday, 31 July 2017

Military tribunal gets Machil ‘encounter’ date wrong in its bail order

A military tribunal that was in the spotlight for ordering the release of army men convicted in the ‘staged’ Machil encounter appears to have got the facts wrong in its order.

Granting bail to the five personnel convicted for allegedly killing three civilians in Kashmir’s fake encounter, an Armed Forces Tribunal (ATF) bench of justice VK Shaili and Lt General SK Singh got the date of the incident wrong.

Recording the reasons for granting bail to the army men, the court said the incident took place on the intervening night of 29-30 October when in fact it took place on the intervening night of 29-30 April. The court in its bail order stated: “the ambush took place on the night of 29-30th of October, 2010”.

Senior Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Hegde said while the error was unlikely to have any bearing on the judgment, it could be used by the prosecution to its advantage.

“The mistake in recording dates will not have an effect on the judgment as far as the operative part (granting bail) is clear. However, it can be used by the prosecution to challenge the bail granted,” he said.

According to senior Jammu and Kashmir high court advocate Zafar Shah, the error highlighted AFT’s “carelessness”. “This shows carelessness on the part of the military tribunal in recording facts. They seem to be talking about something else rather than the incident in question, it cannot be a typo error,” he said.


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