Saturday, April 22, 2017

A tweet too far for AFT judge?

What's in a tweet? A non lawyer member of the Armed Forces Tribunal of India is in hot water over just that question. According to this article from The Wire:
Air Marshal (Retd) Anil Chopra is a member of the Armed Forces Tribunal, where courts martial are appealed. But his tweets raise questions about his impartiality.
Air Marshal Anil Chopra (L) tweeted that any "self respecting nation would have shot 100 stone pelters by now". Credit: Twitter/PTI
Air Marshal Anil Chopra (L) tweeted that any “self respecting nation would have shot 100 stone pelters by now”. Credit: Twitter/PTI 
New Delhi: It took only 140 characters for Air Marshal (Retd.) Anil Chopra, who is a serving member of the Lucknow bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) to raise questions about the impartiality of the legal mechanism that is meant to handle appeals in cases involving crimes and misdemeanours by soldiers and officers of the Indian army.  
On April 12, soon after a video showing Kashmiri protestors heckling security forces on election duty started circulating on social media, Chopra – a highly decorated retired air force officer – took to Twitter to advocate that a hundred “stone-pelters” in Kashmir be shot. 
Chopra Tweet
While the Kashmir conflict has been a polarising issue on social media, this is the first time a serving judge or judicial official has bluntly spoken out in favour of actions whose legality is not only questionable but which may one day end up in a court room that he presides over. 
The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) is not just the primary internal dispute resolution body of the armed forces but is also the forum where courts martial appeals end up. It has several benches across the county, Chopra serves on the Lucknow bench. 
After facing severe criticism and perhaps realising the legal implications of what he had advocated, Chopra deleted his tweet. 
However, he did not stop at this. Two days later, when the army was facing widespread criticism over the decision of an officer to use a Kashmiri man, Farooq Ahmad Dar, as a human shield to deter or prevent stone pelting or perhaps simply as a warning to Kashmiri civilians, Chopra applauded this drastic and illegal move as an “innovative idea”. He also said he admired the Indian government’s decision to support the major who came up with this idea. . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).