Supreme Court: The Division (Vacation) Bench of Indira Banerjee and M.R. Shah, JJ., directed the High Court of Punjab and Haryana to re-consider its dismissal order with regard to request for second post-mortem in the case of alleged police encounter of infamous gangster Jai Pal Singh Bhullar. The Bench remarked,

“There are serious allegations against the Punjab Police in this case. The Punjab Police is alleged to have been involved in the alleged encounter in which the petitioner’s son was killed. The dead body of the petitioner’s son has been brought to Punjab and it presently lying in Punjab…Having regard to the issues raised by the petitioner, we are of the view that the High Court erred in dismissing the petition on the ground that the death had occurred in Kolkata, and the post-mortem had been conducted in Kolkata.”

Facts Pertaining to the Alleged Encounter

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 at PGI, Chandigarh or any other independent medical institution, 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 of Punjab and Haryana 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 the door of the Supreme Court by filing a SLP 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 and the High Court was directed to reconsider the petition filed by the petitioner on merits within Monday itself i.e. 21-06-2021. Additionally, the Bench directed Punjab government to make necessary arrangements for proper preservation and storage of the dead body.

[Bhupinder Singh v. State of Punjab, SLP (Crl.) No(s). 4311 of 2021, decided on 18-06-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

Appearance before the Court by:

Counsels for the Petitioner: Adv. Ishma Randhawa, Adv. Azmat Hayat Amanullah, Adv. Dhananjay Grover and Adv. Nishant Awana

For the State of Punjab: Adv. Jaspreet Gogia

Also read 

[Police Encounter] P&H HC | Dead body kept at home for 9 days due to rejection by family to cremate; HC directs second post-mortem in gangster Jai Pal Bhullar’s alleged police encounter after SC’s intervention

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