'No Place for Talibani Justice': Former Delhi HC Judge on Hyderabad Encounter

Justice (retired) R.S. Sodhi said he was not convinced with the police's version of the events and there should be an independent investigation into the encounter

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of the Hyderabad rape-murder incident and gunning down of the four accused in an alleged encounter, former Delhi high court judge R.S. Sodhi said on Sunday it is the duty of the police to protect the accused and there is no place for ‘Talibani justice’ in the country.

In an interview with PTI, Sodhi said the four accused in the Hyderabad veterinarian rape and murder case were sent to police custody and it was the duty of the policemen to protect them.

Police did not think well before “making up the story” that the accused had to be killed because they tried to flee. “It is difficult to believe that 15 policemen present at the spot could not catch the four accused,” he claimed.

“I am not convinced with the police version of the events and there should be an independent investigation into the encounter,” Sodhi said.

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He said it was never proved that the accused were guilty. The retired judge claimed that the police investigated the matter, tried the accused and executed them.

If the police take the judicial process into its own hands, it can never be legitimate, Sodhi said.

“The Constitution does not consider it as justice done if an accused is shot dead before getting a chance to prove innocence. This Talibani form of justice may be acceptable in any other country, but it has no place in India,” he said.

If an accused dies in police custody, some investigative agency has to check whether the person was killed by the police or not, Sodhi said, adding that according to the guidelines of the Supreme Court, an independent inquiry must be conducted in such cases.

On the 2017 NCRB data showing low conviction rate in rape cases, Sodhi said if around 33% accused were convicted and 67% acquitted, it can also mean that most of the persons charged were found not guilty.

He said if the guilty person is set free due to laxity in the judicial system, “we should strengthen the system”. Gunning down those accused in rape cases is not the solution, the retired judge added.