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Vikas Dubey encounter: SC asks U.P. to consider having ex-judge of top court in inquiry committee

Vikas Dubey   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to expand the committee probing the encounter deaths of history-sheeter Vikas Dubey and his associates to include a former judge of the court and a retired Director General of Police even as it reminded the Yogi Adityanath government about its responsibility to arrest, detain and give a fair trial to an accused in a court of law.

Also read: Vikas Dubey’s close aide Jikant Bajpai, his associate arrested

“You must understand that as a State government, you should be capable of arresting, detention and trial of an accused till he is found innocent or guilty”, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde addressed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for U.P.

The present inquiry panel has a retired Allahabad High Court judge. The court directed the State to provide it with a draft notification with the names of a former apex court judge and police officer proposed to the probe panel. It will consider their names and pass orders on Wednesday (July 22).

The three-judge Bench led by the CJI found “substance” in arguments made that there has been “as many as 6,126 police encounters in which 122 persons have killed” in the State since Mr. Adityanath took over charge as Chief Minister. Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, for NGO People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), drew the court's attention to the police encounter death statistics from the State.

“There is substance in what Parikh is saying... What is at stake is not one incident [of Dubey] in Uttar Pradesh, what is at stake is the whole system”, the CJI stressed.

Also read: Vikas Dubey and a raid that left a bloody trail

He then asked Mr. Mehta “whether it is possible to have a general enquiry into the cause of Mr. Parish... Whether the Chief Minister or the Deputy Chief Minister has made statements [exhorting and encouraging police encounters in the name of making the state crimeless] and how certain incidents [police encounters] took place?”

Grant of bail

During the hearing, the court also chastised the State’s law and order and justice administration that allowed Dubey to get bail.

“We are appalled by the fact that this person [Dubey] was enlarged on bail despite having 64 criminal cases against him. This is a failure of the system that somebody who had so many crimes in his name was let out and he committed this crime [killed eight policemen]”, Chief Justice Bobde orally observed.

The CJI's observation came while Mr. Mehta was describing in detail the brutality of the July 2 ambush and murder of the policemen and mutilation of their bodies. He submitted that Dubey had been a gangster since many decades, having 64 cases of serious offences like murder, facility, extortion, etc, against him... He had the capacity, potential and experience to attack the police and kill them”. Mr. Mehta pointed out that Dubey was booked under the National Security Act in 2001 and was out on parole on July 2.

Also read: Vikas Dubey death | U.P. denies it killed gangster in fake encounter

“You don't have to tell us who Vikas Dubey was. We know he had over 60 cases in his name... Here, we are only concerned about his death”, the CJI said.

He dismissed arguments that a probe into the Dubey death may demoralise the force. “If the rule of law is stringent, then there is no question of demoralisation”, he said.

‘No comparison’

The court also dismissed any comparison between the Hyderabad vet accused who were gunned down by the police in December last and the Dubey case. “They were rapists and killers of a woman. These [Dubey and associates] were killers of policemen”, the CJI said.

In its affidavit, the U.P. government had emphatically denied before the court that the killing of Dubey was a “fake encounter”.

Special Secretary, State Home Department, Anil Kumar Singh, in a 58-page counter-affidavit, said “the incident can never be termed a fake encounter looking at it in totality”.

U.P. had also objected to the court’s suggestion to set up a judicial commission like the one investigating the Hyderabad case. Unlike the Telangana government, the U.P. government has suo motu instituted a judicial inquiry into Dubey’s death within days.

Mr. Singh assured the court that “the State has taken all steps to ensure that even a suspicion does not remain on the incident. It (U.P. government) has acted proactively”.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 3:11:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/vikas-dubey-encounter-sc-asks-up-to-consider-having-ex-judge-of-top-court-in-inquiry-committee/article32136672.ece

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