NEW DELHI: Despite the Supreme Court in 2014 setting out elaborate guidelines pertaining to police encounter killings, they keep happening ever so often, smearing the country’s criminal justice system.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), too, has mandated standard operating procedures for thorough, effective and independent investigation in such cases, yet some personnel in khaki appear to assume they are above the rule of law.
Supreme Court lawyer K V Dhananjay said, “Encounter killings are strictly prohibited in our system and in every other system that claims to follow the rule of law. The fact is we have a formal system of law, police, lawyers, judges and courts to try and punish the guilty on the one hand while the same system is almost collapsing in numerous places on the other hand.
” Expressing concern over the state of the criminal justice system he said, “Over the past few years, India has witnessed a steady rise in police encounter deaths and almost always, the police is never brought to book. India is now in a dangerous situation with the public cheering more lawlessness in the police.”
On the way forward, he said, substantially overhauling the criminal justice system could end encounter deaths someday.
He deserved fair trial, say legal experts
In the ‘People’s Union for Civil Liberties and Anr vs State of Maharashtra and Ors’, a bench of then CJI R M Lodha and Justice Rohinton F Nariman on September 23, 2014 issued a 16-point procedure, including recording the tip-off in writing; registration of an FIR without delay; conducting independent investigation; magisterial probe; informing NHRC; informing the concerned court and family members of the person; compensation to be awarded; and legal assistance to the family if needed. Advocate Ashish Dixit said, “He was a dreaded criminal, he killed 8 policemen in brutal manner but he still deserved fair trial in the court of law.”