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Vikas Dubey issue: Furious SC insists on own committee or retd SC judge in UP committee

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UP govt agrees to issue notification with changes in its committee as per Supreme Court instructions; SC says it will pass order only after govt notification

The Supreme Court today (July 20) showed immense anger at the way the Vikas Dubey encounter killing issue has been handled by UP Police as well at the UP government. The Supreme Court questioned, how did Vikas Dubey granted bail even after so many cases registered against him. The Court has summoned all the records from the Uttar Pradesh Government and noted Vikas Dubey was on bail even after several serious criminal cases registered against him.

So incensed seemed the three-judge bench headed by the CJI S. A. Bobde, that it insisted that the top court set up its own committee, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge, to investigate the issue, despite Solicitor General Tushar Mehta having informed the court that the government had already set up such a committee, headed by a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court.

Perturbed at the insistence of the apex court Senior Advocate Harish Salve, representing the DG of UP Police, said that this was not a case that merits judicial intervention or a committee with judicial officers. He tried to say that such an enquiry would “demoralise the police force.”

The bench did not agree. It said that the rule of law will only strengthen and not demoralise the forces. At that point the bench asked the government counsel if the government was willing to include a retired judge of the Supreme Court and a former senior police official in the judicial inquiry.

That was the breather the Solicitor General was looking for and he asked for a few minutes to get instructions later in the day. Later the Solicitor General told the court that the UP government will issue notifications for the inquiry committee, in which there will be a retired Supreme Court Judge or a retired Judge of a High Court and a retired DGP.

This seemingly did not totally satisfy the top court. The bench asked the Uttar Pradesh government to present the notification by tomorrow (July 21). The court said “after that we will issue an order”. The case will be heard again on Wednesday (July 22).

Earlier, advocate Sanjay Parikh for PUCL had read out statements by the Chief Minister on the encounter. He said “we can’t trust the state government.” He pressed for an independent inquiry. The CJI tells him that the larger issue of encounters will be heard later.

That was after Salve had argued that this matter was qualitatively different from Telangana encounters. He said even policemen have fundamental rights. In this matter can the police be accused of excessive force when it is engaged in a live encounter with a dreaded criminal? Hardcore criminal Dubey slaughtered cops there in his village.

That was when he said: “We can’t keep demoralizing the police force.”

The CJI also commented: “We are appalled that such a person with so many cases was released on bail and he eventually did this. Give us an accurate report of all the orders. This shows the failure of the system.

– India Legal Bureau

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