The Supreme Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to pay an interim cost of Rs 7 lakh to a man seeking justice for his son’s killing in an encounter case in 2002. The Court also pulled up the government over its conduct in the case.
The Bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose condemned the Uttar Pradesh government for screening police officers accused of an encounter death even as the victim’s father was made to run from pillar to post for justice for 19 years.
The Court said, “This is a very serious case where the petitioner, who is the father of the deceased is running from pillar to post to ensure that justice is given to him in a case which was registered against the accused, who were all police officers.”
The case dates to 2002 when a person was killed in encounter by the UP police. Thereafter a closure report was filed by the police in 2005 dismissing charges against its own officers. The trial court rejected the closure report but the accused police personnel were not even arrested for the next nine months even though there was no stay in proceedings.
The Bench observed that even after the High Court dismissed the writ petition and also the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. filed by the co-accused, which was on 20.02.2017, the accused persons were then also not arrested.
In 2018, Trial Court had directed the State to stop payment of salary of the accused persons but still the same was not done except in the case of one accused. The order of stopping of the salary of the accused was again passed on 02.04.2019, which according to the petitioner has yet not been complied.
The Apex Court further noted that it was only after notices were issued by the Supreme Court on 01.09.2021 that the State machinery geared up in action and have arrested two of the accused persons after 19 years and one accused has surrendered. As regards fourth accused, it is stated by the UP Government that he is still absconding.
The counsel for the petitioner has stated that the fourth accused, who is absconding, has retired from service in 2019 and has been paid all his dues on retirement even though there was an order for stopping payment of salary. Garima Prasad, Additional Advocate General for the state of Uttar Pradesh, submitted that the State is taking every action in the matter and has also initiated an enquiry as to why steps were not taken at the appropriate stage.
The Court went on to observe that unfortunately, the manner in which the State has proceeded, the petitioner has been compelled to file this writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. “Normally, we are slow in entertaining petitions directly filed in the Top Court but in the extraordinary circumstances of this case, the Supreme Court has entertained the petition to ensure that justice be given to the petitioner, which has been denied for about two decades.”
“Be that as it may, considering the facts of the case as narrated above, and keeping in view the totality of the circumstances and the sufferings which the petitioner has undergone, we direct that the State of Uttar Pradesh to deposit a sum of Rs 7 lakh with the Registry of this Court towards interim costs within one week from today. On such deposit being made, the petitioner, who is father of the deceased, shall be entitled to withdraw the same. List this matter on 20.10.2021,” the order reads.