SC seeks reply from UP govt on plea demanding probe into encounter killings

The Supreme Court Monday sought a reply within two weeks from the Uttar Pradesh government on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a probe into encounter killings by the state police.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, hearing a petition filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), asked the state to file its reply within two weeks and agreed to hear the matter again after three weeks.

Appearing for the PUCL, advocate Sanjay Parikh urged the bench to issue notice to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to seek its view but the court declined to do so.

The petitioner stated that according to facts available in the public domain “over 1100 encounters have taken place in the past year, wherein 49 people were killed and 370 were injured” and that “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”.

The petitioner submitted that every such encounter is required to be investigated on the basis of an FIR, followed by a magisterial inquiry and a criminal trial thereafter in accordance with law.

“The impunity with which police encounters have been taking place is endorsed by the state government, which is clear from statements made by the Chief Minister on several occasions,” the PUCL said.