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Amicus Curiae and its role

Amicus Curiae is a legal Latin phrase which literally means “Friend of the court.” As defined by Merriam Webster it is one (such as a professional person or organization) that is not a party to a particular litigation but that is permitted by the court to advise it in respect to some matter of law that directly affects the case in question.

In the hearing on 17th March regarding the Manipur encounter case Solicitor General Tushar Mehta made a request before the bench consisting of Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose to demarcate the role of Amicus Curiae who have been appointed to aid the court.

Manipur Encounter Case is an infamous case which has been prolonging since the year 2010. Initially in the year 2009according to the Manipur police, Chungkham Sanjit a 22 year old who was an alleged former militant had fired at police commandoes while trying to escape a routine frisking operation. During the crossfire Thockchom Rabina a pregnant woman died and five others were injured. After this the police were able to capture Sanjit who was claimed to be armed and shot him dead after dragging him into a pharmacy. Manipur police however was oblivious of the fact that a photographer had captured the whole scene which then revealed holes in the official narrative. A CBI inquiry was then ordered and when the charge sheet was submitted it revealed that after Sanjit was murdered the pistol was in fact planted on him leading to murder and conspiracy. Finally in search of justice a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court seeking investigation for 1528similar cases. The Supreme Court then pulled the CBI for their lackadaisical attitude towards the case even though charges like murder had been pressed. In August 2018 a petition was mentioned before the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra by 355 army personal regarding the alleged dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Yesterday the bench was to hear an application by the officerof the Special investigation team who was to be discharged from the case as he was promoted as DIG of police. To this the solicitor general argued that Amicus Curiae should not have the right to dismiss a person from the case but only to assist the court in matters of fact and law. The court however refused to pass an order on the SG’s request by stating that his submissions would be looked into on the next date and lastly they dismissed the SIT officer form the case thereby directing the centre to fill that post on urgent basis.

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