The Army has stressed that the timing of the sentencing in the Machil fake encounter has nothing to do with the ongoing inquiry against Army personnel for the recent Budgam killings. The Machil sentencing was completed two months ago, much before the Budgam killings, Lt Gen D S Hooda, Northern Army commander, told The Indian Express.
Massive protests have followed the killing of two youths — two others were injured — on November 3 when Army personnel fired at a car in Budgam. The Army later apologised for the incident and Lt Gen D S Hooda said last week that the Army would complete its inquiry in 10 days and also announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of the victims.
The sentencing for Machil has coincided with the protests over the Budgam killings and come at a time when the state is heading for elections. Sources in the Army, on the other hand, said the time-bound outcome of the process reiterates the efficiency of the justice system within the armed forces.
Hooda said, “The proceedings of the general court martial (Machil) were completed much before this (Budgam) incident… The general court martial proceedings have come to my headquarters and these have to be legally examined. The technical process is not yet complete.”
Headed by an officer of the rank of a brigadier, the GCM has awarded sentences to five personnel — two officers and three jawans — while exonerating a Territorial Army man.
Asked whether the Army would hand over to the police any of its personnel in connection with the killing of two youths at Budgam, Hooda said, “We had said on November 7 that the inquiry will take 10 days. Let the inquiry be done and we will see.”
CONFIRMATION: The sentence will have to be be confirmed by the confirming authority, in this case the office of Northern Army commander Lt Gen D S Hooda. This will likely take another month.
APPEAL: The accused can move a pre-confirmation petition with the authority, or file a post-confirmation petition if confirmed. They can also approach the Armed Forces Tribunal challenging the decision of the general court martial, followed by a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court.
IMPRISONMENT: There being no military prisons in India, the convicts will be sent to civil prisons