BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to specify whether an inquiry has been ordered into the Mangaluru police firing incident, and if this has been done, to place the report before it.
In response to a public interest litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar also directed the petitioners to file a detailed affidavit explaining their activities as social activists and also how they came to conclusion that the two persons killed in the firing were “innocent”.
The bench issued these directions after hearing a PIL filed by social activists I K Mohammed Iqbal Elimale and B Ummer, residents of Devachalla village and Gandhi Nagar, respectively, in Sullia of Dakshina Kannada district. Issuing notice to the Chief Secretary; Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG&IGP) and Harsha, Commissioner of Police, Mangaluru, the bench adjourned the hearing to February 4, 2020.
When the counsel of the petitioners claimed that the two men killed during a protest against the CAA on December 19, were innocent, the bench asked, “Who (petitioners) are you to give a certificate of innocence? What are your social activities?”
Subsequently, the court asked the counsel to file a detailed affidavit elaborating the nature of the social activities undertaken by the petitioners. The affidavit should also specify how the petitioners came to the conclusion that those who were killed are innocent, the bench said.
The petitioners sought the court to order an independent judicial inquiry by a sitting/retired judge of the High Court into the incident and alleged excessive use of force by the police. Contending that the police force, headed by Harsha, opened fire indiscriminately on the people, the petitioners alleged that the state, except for ordering a magisterial inquiry, has not initiated any legal action against policemen involved in the violence. They also requested the court to issue mandamus calling for the records of the Mangaluru Police Commissioner.
They also urged the court to issue directions to the state to grant appropriate compensation to the kin of the deceased and injured and issue directions to order an independent investigating agency to strictly comply with 16 guidelines issued by the Supreme Court for investigation into fake encounter killings and violation of rights under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.