The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the authorities to conduct a second post-mortem of the body of slain gangster Jaipal Singh Bhullar in a plea filed by the father of the deceased, who was allegedly killed in a staged fake encounter and was subjected to grievous torture in custody after the firm directions of the Apex Court.
The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Avneesh Jhingan noted, “Ignoring the technicalities, considering the nature of the relief sought, noting the fact that body of the son of the petitioner is lying at his place for almost nine days and rejection of prayer of the petitioner at this stage may result in irreversible damage by not conducting the second post-mortem, the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh (PGIMER) is directed to constitute a Board and conduct second post-mortem expeditiously.”
Earlier, the Supreme Court Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and M.R. Shah had directed the Punjab government to make appropriate arrangements to preserve the body, which has been taken to Firozpur in Punjab from Kolkata and the High Court to consider the deceased gangster’s father’s demand for the second autopsy.
Bhullar, along with another gangster Jaspreet Singh, was involved in the killing of two policemen recently in Ludhiana. they were gunned down by the Kolkata police team in a shootout in the city on June 9, after receiving information from their Punjab counterparts.
Earlier, the plea filed by the gangster’s father was dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking directions to the state of Punjab to conduct the second autopsy of his son’s body, either at PGIMER or AIIMS, Delhi. It was held that this Court had no jurisdiction as the post-mortem was conducted at Kolkata, West Bengal.
“The High Court of Punjab and Haryana is requested to decide the petition filed by the petitioner on merits within June 21 itself. In the meanwhile, the state of Punjab shall make necessary arrangements for proper preservation and storage of the dead body. The Special Leave Petition is, accordingly, disposed of.” the apex court had ordered.
Counsel for the petitioner, Advocate APS Randhawa submitted that PMR is not with him, however, he has instructions that the Doctor informed that cause of death was due to fire-arm injury. There is nothing in the pleadings to show that any attempt was made by the petitioner to get a copy of PMR.
Gaurav Garg Dhuriwala, Senior Deputy Advocate General, Punjab, vehemently opposed and submitted that Punjab Police was not involved in any of the alleged encounters, all the action was of the West Bengal authorities. The petitioner refused to take the body to the mortuary or hospital, it was in those circumstances, the Freezer was sent for preserving the body.
The Punjab & Haryana High Court noted, “In normal circumstances, it would have been appropriate to hear the West Bengal authorities but considering that time is the essence and in view of direction by the Supreme Court, the petition is being decided today itself.’
The High Court also asked the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh (PGIEMER) to constitute a board to supervise the second autopsy. “Rejection of prayer of the petitioner at this stage may result in irreversible damage by not conducting the second post-mortem,” it added.