Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde agreed to list on Wednesday a petition seeking an independent probe into the extra-judicial killing of four accused of the rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad.
The petition was orally mentioned by advocate G.S. Mani before the CJI for urgent listing. Mr. Mani sought a CBI or a special investigation team probe against Cyberbad Police Commissioner V.C. Sajjanar, who is a respondent in the petition. He said the encounter was a red herring, deliberately done to turn public attention away from the police's inability to prevent such crimes against women.
There is a second petition filed by another advocate, M.L. Sharma, pending in the court. This petition has made parliamentarian Jaya Bachchan a party for “appreciating” the encounter and Delhi Commission of Women chairperson Swati Maliwal for publicly seeking a “quick hanging” of the accused.
The filing of the petition coincided with a speech given by Chief Justice Bobde, voicing apprehensions over the tendency to seek “instant justice” and “revenge”. “Justice can never be instant and should not take the form of revenge,” he said at the inauguration of a new building of the Rajasthan High Court in Jodhpur on Saturday. The second most senior judge in the Supreme Court, Justice N.V. Ramana, who was present at the function, agreed with the CJI's words on due process of law.
Mr. Mani's plea urged the court to call for police records of the case and further order an inquiry into the “encounter” in accordance with the 16 guidelines framed by the court in 2014 in the PUCL judgment.
The Telangana High Court has already intervened in the case. In a special session on December 6, a Bench ordered the bodies of the four men to be preserved till 8 p.m. on December 9. It also asked the Mahabubnagar Principal District Judge to obtain a copy of the video of the post-mortem of the four accused.