Punjab and Haryana High Court: Avneesh Jhingan, J., ordered to expeditiously conduct second post-mortem of infamous gangster Jai Pal Singh Bhullar, who was allegedly killed in a police encounter.  The Bench observed,

“Noting the fact that body of son of the petitioner is lying at his place for almost nine days and rejection of prayer of the petitioner at this stage may result in irreversible damage by not conducting the second post-mortem.”

 The petitioner, father of late gangster Jai Pal Singh Bhullar, alleged that his son had been killed in a police encounter and there were serious issues of human rights violation. The petitioner contended that his son had been mercilessly tortured to death under the guise of a fake encounter and the body was handed over by the West Bengal authorities in the sealed box. While conducting the last rites, number of injuries was found on the body of the deceased, the petitioner urged for conducting second post-mortem as the first post-mortem report was not with him and according to the instructions received from the Doctor cause of death was fire-arm injury.

Noticeably, on 17-06-2021, (CRM-M-23367 of 2021) the High Court had dismissed the petition seeking directions to get a second post-mortem examination conducted on the dead body of his son on the ground that the petitioner’s son had died in Kolkata, and the post-mortem had also been conducted by the Doctors of Kolkata, which was outside the jurisdiction of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana and, West Bengal.

Directions of the Supreme Court

The petitioner had knocked on the door of the Supreme Court by filing an SLP (No. 4311 of 2021) against the impugned order. The Supreme Court noticed that though the High Court had dismissed the said petition on the ground that the grievance of the petitioner was with regard to the mode and manner of the post-mortem examination, which took place in Kolkata by the Doctors of Kolkata. However, the Supreme Court opined that the Court has failed to consider that there were serious allegations against the Punjab Police in the case, which was alleged to have been involved in the said encounter. The dead body of the petitioner’s son had been brought to Punjab and was presently lying in Punjab. The Punjab Police was in seisin of the case. The petitioner had alleged that the Punjab Police had resorted to manipulation of the post-mortem report. Thus, the Supreme Court held that the High Court had erred in dismissing the petition, accordingly, the impugned order was set aside.

Stand Taken by the State

The State of Punjab vehemently opposed the pleadings that the son of the petitioner was killed on 09-06-2021, in an encounter by Punjab Police. It was submitted by the State that the Punjab Police was not involved in the alleged encounter and all the action was of the West Bengal authorities. Also, that the State had only preserved the body by sending Freezer in compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court as the post-mortem was conducted on 10-06-2021 and body was handed over to the petitioner on 12-06-2021 and since then it is in possession of the family.

Directions for Second Post-mortem

Noticing the absence of an earlier post-mortem report, the Bench opined that apart from the bald statement, there were no allegations which had been substantiated with regard to mode and manner of conducting post-mortem at Kolkata. However, in view of direction by the Supreme Court, and noting the fact that body of son of the petitioner is lying at his place for almost nine days and rejection of prayer of the petitioner at this stage may result in irreversible damage by not conducting the second post-mortem,  the Bench persuaded to ignore the technicalities, and directed the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh (PGIMER) to constitute a Board and conduct second post-mortem expeditiously.[Bhupinder Singh v. State of Punjab, CRM-M-23367 of 2021, decided on 21-06-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance before the Court by: 

Counsels for the Petitioner: Mr. A.P.S. Randhawa, Advocate, Mr. Hardik Ahluwalia, Advocate, Mr. Dhananjay Grover, Advocate, Ms. Ishma Randhawa, Advocate and

Mr. Simranjit Singh, Advocate

Counsel for the State: Mr. Gaurav Garg Dhuriwala, Sr. Deputy Advocate General, Punjab.

Counsels for PGIMER: Mr. Amit Jhanji, Sr. Advocate (Panel Counsel) with Mr. Abhishek Kumar Premi, Advocate

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