Jeevan Reddy Committee:
A committee headed by Justice Jeevan Reddy was appointed in 2004 to review AFSPA. Though the committee found that the powers conferred under the Act are not absolute, it nevertheless concluded that the Act should be repealed.
However, it recommended that essential provisions of the Act be inserted into the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967.
The key recommendations of the Reddy Committee were:
- In case the situation so warrants, the state government may request the Union government to deploy the army for not more than six months.
- The Union government may also deploy the armed forces without a request from the state. However, the situation should be reviewed after six months and Parliament’s approval should be sought for extending the deployment.
- Non-commissioned officers may continue to have the power to fire.
- The Union government should set up an independent grievances cell in each district where the Act is in force.
Justice Verma report mentioned the Act as a part of a section on offences against women in conflict areas. “Sexual violence against women by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel must be brought under the purview of ordinary criminal law,” the report said, adding that “there is an imminent need to review the continuance of AFSPA and AFSPA-like legal protocols in internal conflict areas as soon as possible.” This resonates with the ruling by the Supreme Court that the Army and police are not free to use excess force even under the AFSPA. However, none of these have made any real difference to the status of the AFSPA.
The Second Administrative Reforms Commission headed by then Union law minister M Veerappa Moily also recommended that AFSPA should be repealed and its essential provisions should be incorporated in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).