A watershed in attempts to curb fake encounters

That police can get away with anything including murder has been proved several times in the past, barring a few cases where the cops responsible were tried.

Published: 26th May 2022 06:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th May 2022 06:23 AM   |  A+A-

Gun Firing

Representational Image. (File Photo)

The report of the Justice V S Sirpurkar Commission submitted to the Supreme Court on the death in an “encounter” of four youths accused in the gang-rape and murder of 26-year-old veterinarian Disha in 2019. This is a watershed in the attempts to curb extra-judicial killings. The Commission, in its 387-page report, has hauled the police over live coals for the inconsistencies that had crept into their submissions ad infinitum and even recommended prosecution of the 10 policemen under Section 302 of IPC, among others, for their involvement in the fake encounter. The report would hopefully serve as a deterrent.

That police can get away with anything including murder has been proved several times in the past, barring a few cases where the cops responsible were tried. There is no doubt that Disha’s rape and murder on the night of 27 November 2019, near Shahshabad, aroused nationwide indignation. It is possible that this public outcry led to the gunning down of the four youths by police in the early hours of December 6 to deliver vigilante justice even before they were proved guilty of their crime in any court of law. When the news about Disha’s gory end spread like wildfire, the collective conscience of society was so badly shaken that there were calls for instant justice. In fact, when the four youths died in the “encounter”, the heroism of the police was celebrated. Even Nirbhaya’s mother had said in Delhi that justice for her daughter was at last done in Hyderabad. 

But emotions should not be allowed to get the better of the established practices, which are there for a reason. All crimes, including those in which the police are suspects, should be tried in a court of law. The Sirpurkar Commission has made several suggestions for better policing, which include mandatory compliance with the constitutional and statutory requirements during the arrest, video recording of all investigative processes, and wearing of body-worn cameras. But when the police themselves are suspects in crimes like fake encounters, who would enforce them?


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