NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it is considering appointing a former judge of the apex court for inquiry into the encounter killings of the four accused in the gang rape-and-murder case of a veterinarian in Telangana.
"We are conscious of the fact that the Telangana High Court had taken note of it," a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde said, adding that the top court only wanted that a Delhi-based former apex court judge should hold inquiry into the case.
"We propose to appoint a former Supreme Court judge to inquire into it," said the bench, also comprising Justices S A Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna.
The judge, who would inquire into the incident, would sit in Delhi, it said.
The bench has posted the PILs, seeking an independent SIT probe into the encounter, for hearing on Thursday.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Krishnakumar Singh, appearing for the Telangana government, said it had followed the directions laid down by the apex court for an enquiry into encounters and had already referred the case to the state CID.
Two petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court, one by lawyers G S Mani and Pradeep Kumar Yadav and the other by advocate M L Sharma, seeking independent investigation against the police officials concerned.
The PIL, filed by Mani and Yadav, claimed that the alleged encounter was "fake" and an FIR should be lodged against the police officials who were involved in the incident.
Telangana police said on Friday that the accused were killed in an exchange of fire with police.
The incident took place around 6.30 am when the accused were taken to the site of offence for the reconstruction of the scene of a crime as part of the investigation.
The four accused were shot dead on NH-44 near Hyderabad -- the same highway where the charred body of 27-year-old veterinarian found.
Mani and Yadav, in their PIL, said that no one would support the accused who are involved in gang rape and murder cases against innocent women.
"However, an investigating agency and officers even at a high level like Commissioner of Police taking the law into their hand, conducting fake encounter and killing alleged rape accused. Without bringing them before the court for punishment is very unfortunate," the plea said.
"No one including the investigating agency like police has right to punish any accused without due process of law. The court alone after applying all the procedure and law and affording an opportunity all the right of free and fair trial and hearing can impose a punishment of imprisonment or death sentence," Mani and Yadav said in their PIL.