New Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI) The Supreme Court Tuesday expressed displeasure over a civil rights group, which has sought probe into incidents of alleged police encounters and killings in Uttar Pradesh, saying it has come unprepared to argue its case.
The apex court, which dubbed the PIL filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) on the alleged encounter killings as a “serious matter”, was not happy as it did not get satisfactory answers on some of the questions from its counsel.
“Please get yourself better arranged. How to present the case is not our business. It is your business. Prepare yourself better and organise yourself better,” said a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
PUCL has sought a court-monitored CBI or SIT probe into incidents of alleged police encounters and killings in Uttar Pradesh.
The remarks by the bench came as PUCL’s counsel Sanjay Parikh faced some difficulty in locating some submissions from the documents and affidavit about the cases in which the FIRs have been registered and later the cases were closed.
In one case, the bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna sought to know where in the averments was the family version on the killing of a person.
“What is in the complaint. Is the complaint containing the family version. Where is the affidavit. How can we understand,” the bench said before adjourning the matter and asking the counsel to come prepared with the case.
“In this serious matter, we want to know about the cases as we have to be satisfied,” the bench said, adding that it wanted to know about eight or nine cases of encounter which was in the list of the NGO.
The bench said between March 2017 and March 2018 Uttar Pradesh Police made three lakh arrest and had talked about 48 alleged encounters and the cases have been closed in 25.
The bench wanted to know from the PUCL about the developments that had taken place in the cases of 48 FIRs.
Parikh submitted that those cases are closed in which the accused have died.
He said the Uttar Pradesh Police was not proceeding with the cases in accordance with the guidelines laid by the apex court.
During the hearing, an application was also heard in which issue of some independent cases was raised.
However, the bench declined to hear it asking the counsel to approach the Allahabad High Court.
While agreeing to examine the issues raised by the PUCL, the apex court on January 14 a “serious consideration” was required in the matter.
The top court had said it would also decide date of hearing the plea of organisation ‘Citizens against Hate’, represented by lawyer Prashant Bhushan, seeking to be made a party to the petition filed by the PUCL.
The court will also decide whether to seek a report from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the alleged encounter killings in the state.
Uttar Pradesh government on last hearing maintained that norms and procedures were followed by the state administration.
Earlier, the apex court had sought response from the state government on the PIL filed by the NGO, alleging that there were about 1,100 encounters in 2017 in which 49 people were killed and 370 injured.
It, however, had not agreed to the submission of lawyer Sanjay Parikh, appearing for PUCL, that a notice be also issued to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as it had already taken note of alleged statements of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on the encounters in the state.
The NGO, in its plea, has referred to news reports quoting the chief minister, his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya and ADG Law and Order Anand Kumar, justifying the encounter killings of criminals in the state.
It has sought a probe into the encounters by an independent agency, that is the “Central Bureau of Investigation or a Special Investigation Team comprising police officers of integrity and who have not served in the state of Uttar Pradesh.” “The monitoring committee should also inquire into the role played by all authorities/persons who directly/indirectly supported the encounter killings by abdicating their legal duties/responsibilities,” it said.
The plea said the families of those killed or injured be also granted compensation.
Facts available in the public domain state that over 1,100 encounters have taken place in the past year, wherein 49 people were killed and 370 were injured, the plea claimed.
Quoting the figure provided by the state to the NHRC, it said that 45 persons had died between January 1, 2017, and March 31 last year.
It referred to the binding guidelines laid down by the apex court in a judgment delivered on one of the PILs filed by the PUCL and said “each such encounter is required to be investigated on the basis of FIR, followed by a magisterial inquiry and thereafter, a criminal trial in accordance with law”.
The chief minister had on November 19, 2017 said that “criminals will be jailed or killed in encounters”, the plea submitted.
The plea also quoted the observation of the NHRC which had said that it seemed that “the police personnel in Uttar Pradesh are feeling free, misusing their power in the light of an undeclared endorsement given by the higher ups…”
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.