NHRC seeks report on 'encounter' deaths

NEW DELHI Jan. 3. Even as the opposition parties in Bihar today observed a bandh to protest the killing of three youths allegedly in a fake police encounter, the National Human Rights Commission has sought a report in this regard from the State Government.

Taking suo motu cognisance of newspaper reports on the deaths, the Commission has directed the State Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police to take appropriate action with regard to the investigation of the case as per the guidelines laid down by the Commission and sent to the Chief Ministers of all the States.

The Commission has sought the action-taken report and the final outcome thereof. In addition, the DGP was directed to ascertain the facts of the case and inform the Commission.

In the perception of the Commission, ``under our laws, the police have not been conferred any right to take away the life of another person. If, by this act, the policeman kills a person, he commits the offence of culpable homicide whether amounting to the offence of murder or not, unless it is proved that such killing was not an offence under the law''.

Therefore, the Commission has impressed on the State Governments that when death was caused in an encounter, and if it was not justified as having been caused in exercise of the legitimate right of private defence, the police officer causing the death would be guilty of culpable homicide.

The investigation of these cases should be handed over to an independent agency such as the State CID and compensation to the dependents of the deceased should also be considered.

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