Supreme Court Seeks Response From UP Government on Encounter Killings

A Public Interest Litigation seeking probe into encounter killings in the state had been filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud on Monday sought a time-bound reply from the Uttar Pradesh government on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a probe into encounter killings in the state, a report in the Indian Express said. The UP government has been asked to submit a reply within two weeks.

The petition was filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). According to Firstpost, Sanjay Parikh, appearing for PUCL, alleged that as many as 500 encounters have been carried out in Uttar Pradesh recently, in which a total of 58 persons have been killed.

According to the petition, “over 1100 encounters have taken place in the past year, wherein 49 people were killed and 370 were injured. According to the figures given by the State of UP to the NHRC, in the encounters, 45 persons have died between 01.01.2017-31.03.2018,” said a report in Livelaw.

Parikh reportedly submitted that each of the encounters be investigated on the basis of FIR, followed by a magisterial inquiry and a criminal trial, in accordance with law.

Advocate Aishwarya Bhati, who appeared for the state, reportedly accepted the copy of the petition. The bench posted the matter for hearing after three weeks.

A report in The Wire had cited UP government figures which showed that by January 2018 the police had conducted 1,038 encounters. In these, 32 people were killed and 238 injured. Four police personnel also lost their lives.

A detailed investigation into the encounter cases by The Wire revealed discrepancies in the accounts of the families of those killed and the police. Out of the 14 cases of police encounter killings that The Wire looked into in four districts of western UP, 11 had the same pattern. The victims were in the age group of 17 to 40. They were all  undertrials in a number of cases.

It may be useful to recollect in this context that in an interview to India TV in June 2017, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath had said, “Agar apradh karenge toh thok diye jayenge (If they commit crimes, they will be hit).”