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Procedure for using AFSPA

Date: 15 December 2021 Tags: Bills & Laws


The states of northeast, including Nagaland have asked the Union government to withdraw Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, after the accidental killings of civilians.



The Naga People’s Movement of Human Rights v Union of India, 1997 case already talks about the constitutionality of AFSPA.



  • The main argument pushed forward by the petitioners was that maintaining law and order was a state subject and Parliament had no right to do it.

  • They also said that AFSPA was a fraud on constitution as it intended to perform the same duties mentioned under Article 352.

  • The petitioners further argued that civilian forces would be replaced by armed forces, giving them arbitrary vast powers that could be misused.


Ruling by Supreme Court

  • The law was unanimously upheld. They however added that the provisions could be permitted for a “temporary period”, until a situation of normalcy was restored.

  • The decision also emphasized that the opinion of the state government had to be considered while declaring a region as “disturbed area”.

  • Individuals violating prohibitory orders have to be dealt with minimal force by the armed forces under the act.



Any allegations of misuse of powers by the armed forces have to be thoroughly investigated. If they are found to be true, suitable compensation have to be provided and the institution has to be prosecuted under Section 6 of the Central Act.


Recent trends

  • A bench of Justices Madan Lokur and U U Lalit gave a verdict in 2016 that security personnel committing crime did not enjoy absolute immunity.

  • The extra-judicial killings by security forces in Manipur during 2000-12 were to be investigated, as ruled by the Supreme Court.

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