Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Extra-judicial killings: Petitioner says UP government hid crucial facts in status report, tried to mislead Supreme Court

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A petitioner who moved the Supreme Court seeking independent probe into the police encounter killings in Uttar Pradesh, has alleged that the state government had attempted to mislead the Apex Court by hiding crucial facts in its status report.

While rejecting the status report submitted by the state of Uttar Pradesh, Advocate Vishal Tiwari contended that encounter killings were often celebrated as achievements in state police, which rewarded such officials by giving them out-of-turn promotions and gallantry awards. 

Filing a rejoinder, Advocate Tiwari contended that the Uttar Pradesh police encouraged the arbitrary and unconstitutional actions of the state police and questioned the stand of the UP government that police encounters were legitimate exercises in self-defence

It said police, as a powerful force, should not resort to excessive or retaliatory force, especially when the opposing party was a minor group with fewer weapons. 

If the police fired the victim when there was a chance to overpower them without killing, it could be termed as retaliation, noted the petition. 

It said when the State used such excessive or retaliatory force leading to death, it was referred to as an extra-judicial killing or an extrajudicial execution.

Following the Apex Court orders of August 11, 2023, the State of Uttar Pradesh had filed the status report, stating that it did not find any fault on part of the police where investigations were complete.

Tiwari said that though his writ petition referred to 183 encounter incidents, the State’s report pertained to only seven incidents. Therefore, the State did not fully comply with the August 11 orders of the Apex Court.

He said the respondent deliberately chose not to give any status report or reply to the 183 encounter killings. Many of these encounters might have been fake and no proper compliance of the Guidelines laid down by this Supreme Court have been made, he added. 

As per the petition, the state government had misinterpreted the Chauhan Commission report as giving a clean chit to the police in respect of the Kanpur/Bikru encounter killings of 2020. 

It contended that in January 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Commission had raised an alarm regarding the encounter killings in Uttar Pradesh.

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