HYDERABAD: A division bench of the Hyderabad High Court on Monday took on record the statement made by the Additional Advocate General of the AP government that the police officers concerned will not disclose any details to the media about the encounter incident in which 20 woodcutters from Tamil Nadu, who were hired by red sanders smugglers, had died in police firing. The bench took a serious view of the police divulging information to the media relating to the incident.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice PV Sanjay Kumar was dealing with a public interest litigation filed by Chilka Chandra Sekhar of the Civil Liberties Committee seeking a direction for registering a murder case against the police personnel involved in the encounter that took place in the Seshachalam hill ranges near Tirupati in Chittoor district on April 7. While hearing the case, the bench suo motu impleaded wife of one of the victims as a petitioner to the plea. The bench wondered what the fate of investigation will be when senior police officers like the Director General speak out justifying the action before the press.
Taking a serious exception at this, the bench cautioned “We desire that the police shall not divulge information to the media as the matter is sub judice and we shall restrain the police from revealing the information.”
Intervening, Additional advocate general Dammalapati Srinivas assured the court saying that the government will instruct the officers not to share any information to the press with regard to the investigation into the incident. The bench said that this assurance will help a fair and independent investigation of the case and also will create confidence among the people and recorded the statement of the additional AG. Petitioner’s counsel V Raghunath told the bench that one Muniyammal, wife of one of the victims of the incident, has lodged a complaint with the Chandragiri police seeking to register a murder case against the police personnel involved in the encounter. The bench directed the additional AG to inform the bench by Wednesday whether the police had received the complaint or not, if so what action they have taken on it. The bench directed the Registry to implead the complainant in the case and serve a notice to the district judge of Chittoor with an instruction that the notice be delivered to the complainant.
The bench also directed the Registry to extend proper legal aid to her if she seeks it by providing an efficient advocate to argue her case before the High Court.
The matter was posted to Wednesday for further hearing. Muniyammal, in her complaint, stated that her husband Sashi Kumar was killed by the police in an inhuman way. She termed the incident as culpable homicide and sought action against the police responsible for the incident.