Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ refused to scrap the Judicial Committee constituted to look into the killing of Vikas Dubey and said that the allegations of bias made against the members of the Commission merely on the basis of newspaper reports and nothing more, are liable to be rejected outright.

“ … the Chairman and a Member of the Commission had held high Constitutional positions and while making allegations the petitioner has based his claim only on the newspaper report and the manner in which the averments are made in the application is unacceptable.”

The petitioner, in the present case, sought scrapping of the Judicial Committee and prayed that SIT be constituted by this Court to carry out, alleging conflict of interest and likely bias on the part of the Chairman, Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan and K.L. Gupta, the Member.

BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

The Court had, on July 22, 2020, cleared the draft notification having Former Supreme court judge Justice B S Chauhan in Inquiry committee in the Vikas Dubey encounter case and has asked the UP Government to notify the same. The Inquiry committee will have to look into incidents of killing of eight policemen and subsequent encounter of gangster.

The Committee comprises of the following persons :

  • Justice B.S. Chauhan, Former Judge, Supreme Court – Chairman
  • Justice Shashi Kant Agarwal, Former Judge, Allahabad High Court – Member
  • L. Gupta, IPS, Former Director General of Police – Member 

Vikas Dubey, a history-sheeter and gangster-turned-politician, was killed in a police encounter on July 10, 2020. Here is the series of events that led to his death:

  • On July 3, 2020, during an attempt to arrest Dubey and his men, eight policemen were killed, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), while seven police personnel were left injured.
  • On July 9, 2020, Dubey surrendered near the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. A petition filed in the Supreme Court later that night had requested security for him and a CBI investigation into a series of killings.
  • On July 10,2020, the vehicle carrying Dubey was involved in a road accident and overturned just an hour short of Kanpur. Dubey allegedly snatched a pistol from a policeman trying to fix a flat tyre and tried to run away, before being killed by Uttar Pradesh police.

DISMISSAL OF EARLIER PLEA BY THE SAME PETITIONER SEEKING REMOVAL OF FORMER DGP KL GUPTA FROM THE COMMITTEE

The Court had, on 28.07.2020, dismissed the petitioner’s plea seeking removal of Former DGP K L Gupta from Inquiry Committee set up to probe gangster Vikas Dubey’s encounter and has said that  it will not allow petitioners to cast aspersions on the Former DGP.

The petitioner had sought the removal of the former DGP on the ground that he had made certain comments in favour of the police in the interview given to the media. This Court having considered the same and on not finding it objectionable, dismissed the application holding it to be devoid of merits.

ORDER IN THE PRESENT CASE

The Court noticed that despite the dismissal of the aforementioned application, the very same contentions are urged in the instant application as well and has also raised an additional contention that the Former DGP K.L. Gupta is related to Mohit Agarwal, the IG of Kanpur Zone. Further, objection is raised to the continuation of Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan as the Chairman of the Commission since the news report relied on by the petitioner states that his brother and relative are legislators from the Bhartiya Janata Party which runs the Government in Uttar Pradesh.

Noticing that the entire basis for making the allegations as contained in the miscellaneous petition is an Article relied on by the petitioner said to have been published in the newspaper and without any material on record to confirm the truth or otherwise of the statement made in the newspaper, the Court noticed that

“this Court will have to be very circumspect while accepting such contentions based only on certain newspaper reports. This Court in a series of decisions has repeatedly held that the newspaper item without any further proof is of no evidentiary value.”

The Court further said that the allegation that the brother of the chairman of the Commission is a legislator belonging to or supporting the party in power and that the member of the Commission is related to the IG of Police (Kanpur Range) are not sufficient to come to the conclusion that it would lead to bias or conflict of interest since there is no indication whatsoever as to the nature of influence such of those relatives would be able to exert and as to whether they are in a dominant position.

The Bench concluded by saying that petitioner’s plea filed in public interest was accepted and the Commission of Inquiry consisting of persons who had held high position has been constituted even though the petitioner is an advocate who practices law in Mumbai, Maharashtra and is in no way connected to the incident in question which took place in U.P. However,

“… the petitioner has been raising unnecessary apprehensions and repeated applications are being filed which in fact is hampering the process of inquiry.”

The Court said that there would be sufficient safeguard to the manner in which the inquiry would be held as the enquiry held would be in public domain and the petitioner has already been granted the liberty of participating therein. Further, the report of the enquiry is ordered to be filed in the petitions which were filed before this Court.

[Ghanshyam Upadhyay v. State of UP, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 658, decided on 19.08.2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The Court has dismissed the plea seeking removal of Former DGP K L Gupta from Inquiry Committee set up to probe gangster Vikas Dubey’s encounter and has said that  it will not allow petitioners to cast aspersions on the Former DGP.

Petition was filed seeking Gupta’s removal from the Inquiry Committee on the ground that he is “likely to be biased”. The petitioner had argued that Gupta had justified the police encounter and supported the police versions in the case of encounter of Vikas Dubey during a TV debate on July 23. After taking note of the said media report, the Court said that inquiry will not be vitiated as the Inquiry Committee on Vikas Dubey encounter as a former Supreme court and High Court judge. 

The Court had, on July 22, 2020, cleared the draft notification having Former Supreme court judge Justice B S Chauhan in Inquiry committee in the Vikas Dubey encounter case and has asked the UP Government to notify the same. The Inquiry committee will have to look into incidents of killing of eight policemen and subsequent encounter of gangster.

The Committee comprises of the following persons :

(1) Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan, Former Judge, Supreme Court – Chairman
(2)  Justice Shashi Kant Agarwal, Former Judge, Allahabad High Court – Member
(3) K.L. Gupta, IPS, Former Director General of Police – Member 

Vikas Dubey, a history-sheeter and gangster-turned-politician, was killed in a police encounter on July 10, 2020. Here is the series of events that led to his death:

  • On July 3, 2020, during an attempt to arrest Dubey and his men, eight policemen were killed, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), while seven police personnel were left injured.
  • On July 9, 2020, Dubey surrendered near the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. A petition filed in the Supreme Court later that night had requested security for him and a CBI investigation into a series of killings.
  • On July 10,2020, the vehicle carrying Dubey was involved in a road accident and overturned just an hour short of Kanpur. Dubey allegedly snatched a pistol from a policeman trying to fix a flat tyre and tried to run away, before being killed by Uttar Pradesh police.

In 2014, the bench of RM Lodha and RF Nariman, JJ, in PUCL v. State of Maharashtra, (2014) 10 SCC 635, laid down guidelines on the procedure to be followed in police encounter.


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Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Court has cleared the draft notification having Former Supreme court judge Justice B S Chauhan in Inquiry committee in the Vikas Dubey encounter case and has asked the UP Government to notify the same. The Inquiry committee will have to look into incidents of killing of eight policemen and subsequent encounter of gangster.

As per the draft of the revised notification, the Commission is to comprise of the following persons :

(1) Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan, Former Judge, Supreme Court – Chairman
(2)  Justice Shashi Kant Agarwal, Former Judge, Allahabad High Court – Member
(3) K.L. Gupta, IPS, Former Director General of Police – Member 

The Court directed that the notification constituting the Commission and incorporating the Terms of Reference, be issued immediately.

“The Commission shall sit at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and start functioning within a period of one week from today.”

The Court further directed that the Commission shall submit a report to the Court and the State Government in accordance with the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, within a period of two months from the date on which the Commission starts functioning.

Apart from this, the Court also made clear that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) already constituted by the State Government will be free to inquire into any of the related incidents which are the subject matters of this case.

Vikas Dubey, a history-sheeter and gangster-turned-politician, was killed in a police encounter on July 10, 2020. Here is the series of events that led to his death:

  • On July 3, 2020, during an attempt to arrest Dubey and his men, eight policemen were killed, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), while seven police personnel were left injured.
  • On July 9, 2020, Dubey surrendered near the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. A petition filed in the Supreme Court later that night had requested security for him and a CBI investigation into a series of killings.
  • On July 10,2020, the vehicle carrying Dubey was involved in a road accident and overturned just an hour short of Kanpur. Dubey allegedly snatched a pistol from a policeman trying to fix a flat tyre and tried to run away, before being killed by Uttar Pradesh police.

In 2014, the bench of RM Lodha and RF Nariman, JJ, in PUCL v. State of Maharashtra, (2014) 10 SCC 635, laid down guidelines on the procedure to be followed in police encounter.

[Ghanshyam Upadhyay v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 587 , order dated 22.07.2020]


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Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Pankaj Kumar Jaiswal and Karunesh Singh Pawar, JJ., dismissed a petition filed to seek issuance for constitution of a Judicial Commission to probe the alleged police encounter of Gangster Vikas Dubey.

.Present Public Interest Litigation was filed for the purpose of seeking direction for constituting a Judicial Commission to probe into the police encounter of Vikas Dubey by the U.P. Police Special Task Force Team on 10th July, 2020.

Another point raised is for the issuance of direction against the respondents to frame appropriate guidelines governing, planning and carrying out encounters for the purpose of protection of life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Petitioner has submitted that Vikas Dubey, who was arrested from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh for the killing of eight policemen in an ambush in Kanpur on 3-07-2020, was shot dead by the police in an alleged encounter in the morning of 10-07-2020.

According to the police, the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) was bringing him back to Kanpur from Madhya Pradesh, when Vikas Dubey tried to flee after snatching a weapon from one of the officers escorting him, leading to his encounter.

Petitioner relied on the Supreme Court decision in PUCL v. State of Maharashtra, (2014) 10 SCC 635, and submitted that guidelines have been framed regarding procedure to be adopted in police encounters because such police encounters affect the credibility of rule of law and the administration of criminal justice system, further it was prayed that an appropriate direction be issued for constitution of a judicial commission to probe into the police encounter of Vikas Dubey by the U.P. Police Special Task Force Team.

Additional Advocate General, Vinod Kumar Sahi submitted that Special Investigating Team headed by the Additional Chief Secretary has already been constituted by State of Uttar Pradesh.

He also added to his submission that, State of U.P. has appointed Justice Sri Sashi Kant Agarwal, a former Judge of this Court, as one member Judicial Commission to enquire into the subject matter in question within a period of two months.

Petitioner at this stage submitted that as Judicial Commission has been constituted, present petition has rendered infructuous and therefore, she may be permitted to withdraw the petition.

Therefore, Court held that the present petition has become infructuous and dismissed the same as withdrawn with liberty to the petitioner to file a fresh petition if occassion arises. [Nandita Bharti v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 863 , decided on 13-07-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Central Information Commission (CIC): Y.K. Sinha (Information Commissioner) while forwarding the present case to UP State Information asked for the disposal of the same as the information sought is regarding the number of encounters and number of people who had died in such encounters from April 2017 to May 2018 in Uttar Pradesh.

The present application was filed seeking the number of encounters and number of people who had died in encounters in Uttar Pradesh during April 2017 to May 2018.

Details of persons that were killed in encounters from 2012 to May 2018:

a. Name of the person killed b. Caste c. District d. Thana e. Date of Encounter f. Name of the officer carrying out the Encounters and his caste g. Details of the provisions of IPC under which charges were leveled against the deceased.

All of the above information had been sought from the PIO, but no information was received even after the first appeal and thereafter, the present second appeal was filed.

The appellant had prayed that the correct jurisdictional authority be determined which would provide him the information sought as the application had been transferred several times but till date, no response was received.

Thus, the Commission on noting the above, stated that custodian of the information was the UP State Government. Since the subject matter falls outside the purview of the Central list and pertains to the State of Uttar Pradesh, the Registrar of this Commission is directed that the aforesaid case be forwarded to the UP State Information Commission, Lucknow. [Gajender Singh Yadav v. PIO/Mo/Home Affairs, 2020 SCC OnLine CIC 83, decided on 14-02-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

As reported by PTI,

Telangana High Court: A Division Bench comprising R S Chauhan, C.J. and A Abhishek Reddy, J., directed re-postmortem of the bodies of four accused in the gang-rape and murder.

Bodies of the four accused are currently preserved in the state-run Gandhi Hospital here as per earlier orders of the High Court, after some PILs were filed alleging extra- judicial killing of the men and claiming it was a fake encounter among others.

Bench directed that the second autopsy should be conducted before December 23, and the report with their findings shall be submitted to the Registrar General of the High Court.


Background:

As reported by ANI, Telangana High Court orders to preserve the bodies of the accused, till 13-12-2019.

The matter has been posted for hearing on 12-12-2019.

Advocate Prakash Reddy has been appointed as amicus curiae to assist the Court.

Background:

A representation was made at the Chief Justice’s Office on 6-12-2019, wherein the request for judicial intervention was placed with respect to the extra-judicial killing of the 4 accused’s involved in rape and murder of Disha (name changed) on 27-11-2019.

Advocate General of Telangana informed that the post-mortem of the 4 accused was being done and the same was also being video graphed.

Court asked the video of the post-mortem to be given to the Principal District Judge once the post-mortem is done, which further is to be submitted to the Registrar General of the High Court of Telangana.

Court has further directed for the preservation of the bodies till 9-12-2019 and the matter has been listed for 9-12-2019 before the bench of the Chief Justice of Telangana High Court. [Police encounter which occurred on 06-12-2019 at Chatanapally Village, WP (PIL) No. 173 of 2019, Order dated 06-12-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

Latest Update in the Case:

As reported by ANI, Telangana High Court orders to preserve the bodies of the accused, till 13-12-2019.

The matter has been posted for hearing on 12-12-2019.

Advocate Prakash Reddy has been appointed as amicus curiae to assist the Court.

 

Background:

A representation was made at the Chief Justice’s Office on 6-12-2019, wherein the request for judicial intervention was placed with respect to the extra-judicial killing of the 4 accused’s involved in rape and murder of Disha (name changed) on 27-11-2019.

Advocate General of Telangana informed that the post-mortem of the 4 accused was being done and the same was also being video graphed.

Court asked the video of the post-mortem to be given to the Principal District Judge once the post-mortem is done, which further is to be submitted to the Registrar General of the High Court of Telangana.

Court has further directed for the preservation of the bodies till 9-12-2019 and the matter has been listed for 9-12-2019 before the bench of the Chief Justice of Telangana High Court. [Police encounter which occurred on 06-12-2019 at Chatanapally Village, WP (PIL) No. 173 of 2019, Order dated 06-12-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

A representation was made at the Chief Justice’s Office on 6-12-2019, wherein the request for judicial intervention was placed with respect to the extra-judicial killing of the 4 accused’s involved in rape and murder of Disha (name changed) on 27-11-2019.

Advocate General of Telangana informed that the post-mortem of the 4 accuseds was being done and the same was also being videographed.

Court asked the video of the post-mortem to be given to the Principal District Judge once the post-mortem is done, which further is to be submitted to the Registrar General of the High Court of Telangana.

Court has further directed for the preservation of the bodies till 9-12-2019 and the matter has been listed for 9-12-2019 before the bench of the Chief Justice of Telangana High Court. [Police encounter which occurred on 06-12-2019 at Chatanapally Village, WP (PIL) No. 173 of 2019, Order dt. 06-12-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that the four accused, arrested by the police in connection with the rape and murder of veterinarian doctor in Telangana, have died in an encounter with the police at 3:00 AM this morning.

As per reports, all four accused, were taken to the scene of the crime around 60 Km from Hyderabad for a re-construction as part of the investigation. Reportedly, as per police version, one of them signaled to the others, possibly to escape and they tried to snatch weapons from the police personnel when the police fired on them and they died allegedly in cross firing.

The Commission is of the opinion that this matter is required to be probed very carefully. Accordingly, it has asked its Director General (Investigation) to immediately send a team for a fact finding on the spot investigation into the matter. The team of the Investigation Division of the Commission headed by an SSP, is expected to leave immediately and submit their report, at the earliest.

The Commission has already taken cognizance of the increasing cases of rapes and sexual assault on women across the country and a detailed report has been called for from the all State governments and police heads as well as from the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development. A number of such cases including the Telangana case had forced the Commission to intervene into the matter.

The incident which has taken place now clearly indicates that the police personnel were not properly alert and prepared for any untoward activity by the accused on the spot, which resulted into death of all four. The deceased had been arrested by the police during investigation and a judgment in the matter by the competent court was yet to be pronounced. If, the arrested persons were actually guilty, they were to be punished as per law pursuant to the directions of the competent court.

Death of four persons in alleged encounter with the police personnel when they were in their custody, is a matter of concern for the Commission. The Commission is aware that growing incidents of sexual assault and violence against the women has created an atmosphere of fear and anger amongst the public at large but loss of human lives even of a person arrested by the police under law, in such circumstances, would definitely give a wrong message to the society.

The Commission has already expressed its view that there is lack of “Standard Operating Procedure” to immediately respond to the panic situations by the police authorities. The Commission has been insisting upon all law enforcing agencies to keep human rights angle in their view while dealing with the persons arrested by them or being kept in their custody. The right to life and equality before law are the basic human rights recognized and granted by the Constitution of India.


NHRC

[Press Release dt. 06-12-2019]