Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Dubey encounter: SC closes pleas, asks UP to act on panel’s recommendations

The Supreme Court on Friday closed the hearing on pleas seeking relief including the re-constitution of a commission to inquire into the encounter of gangster Vikas Dubey and others and directed the Uttar Pradesh government to act upon the recommendations of the panel.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana also directed that the report of the three-member inquiry panel headed by Justice (retd) B S Chauhan of the apex court be put in the public domain and uploaded on its website.
The bench, also comprising Justices Krishan Murari and Hima Kohli, agreed to the submissions of the Uttar Pradesh government that under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, the panel has run its course, its report has been filed and laid on the floor of the assembly and it cannot be appealed or assailed as happened in the case of a judgement.
“Now the inquiry commission has submitted its report. The counsel appearing for the state says that the report of the inquiry was placed on the floor of the House for further action… and if the (PIL) petitioners are still aggrieved then the course is to pursue the remedy under the law.
“We direct the state government to take appropriate action as per the recommendations given by the inquiry commission. The copy of the report be kept in the public domain and on the SC website. With the above observations, the writ (petitions) are closed,” the apex court said in its order.
The Justice Chauhan panel, in its report, had said there is no suspicion or doubt about the police version of the killing of gangster Dubey and other members of his gang in encounters after the Bikru ambush in Kanpur in July 2020 as nobody from the public or the media came to contradict the police claim and no evidence was filed in rebuttal. The bench was hearing as many as four PILs, including the first one filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Ghanshyam Upadhyay who had sought relief including re-constitution of the inquiry commission to inquire into the encounter of the gangster and his associates. An independent court-monitored probe was also sought in pleas.
At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the state government, said that the inquiry panel has filed its report which has been tabled on the floor of the house, and hence the matters here should be closed.
“This matter should be closed. There were allegations and counter allegations …A three-member inquiry committee was constituted and they have rendered a report. Everybody cannot be happy with what everyone says,” Salve said.
“The important point is that this is the report of the Commission of Inquiry and you cannot appeal this to a court. Your Lordship wanted a thorough enquiry and now the inquiry is over. And, if somebody says a crime has been committed then he will have to go to court. The inquiry commission report has run its course,” he said.
If somebody still says that an offence has been committed then he will have to follow “the rigour of the law”, Salve said.
The submission was opposed by a PIL petitioner saying that the inquiry panel did not conduct any inquiry and “this has been a cold-blooded murder”.
Closing the case, the bench said, “Inquiry has been conducted and a report is submitted now. If you are still aggrieved then take your recourse under the law.”
On August 19, 2020, the top court dismissed a plea seeking the scrapping of the judicial commission.
Prior to this, the top court had approved the Uttar Pradesh government’s draft notification for appointing Justice Chauhan as chairman of the 3-member inquiry commission on the killing of eight policemen and the subsequent encounter killings of gangsters Vikas Dubey and five of his alleged associates.
The other two members of the inquiry commission were – former high court judge Justice (retd) Shashi Kant Agarwal and retired Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh K L Gupta.
In its order, the bench had said that the commission shall submit a report to the apex 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.”
Eight policemen, including DSP Devendra Mishra, were ambushed in Bikru village in the Chaubeypur area of Kanpur when they were going to arrest Dubey and fell to bullets fired from rooftops shortly after midnight on July 3, 2020.
Dubey was killed in an encounter on the morning of July 10, 2020, when a police vehicle carrying him from Ujjain to Kanpur met with an accident and he tried to escape from the spot in the Bhauti area, the police had said.
Prior to Dubey’s encounter, five of his alleged associates were killed in separate encounters.

SourcePTI

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