SC reserves verdict on guidelines on encounter deaths probe

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on the issue of laying down guidelines for probe into cases of encounter deaths and extra-judicial killings.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha, has taken on record responses of the Centre, state governments, union territories and National Human Rights Commission for framing the guidelines to deal with the issues of encounter killings.

The petition was filed by NGO, People’s Union for Civil Liberties’ (PUCL) which, along with NHRC, had also suggested the setting up a separate and independent probe agency under NHRC or the state human rights commission to probe every encounter killings.

The plea has sought that unless proved beyond doubt that an encounter was genuine, no officer should be promoted or rewarded and compensation money for dependents of every fake encounter killing should be equivalent to the reward money given to the police in such operations.

During the hearing, the court was told that some states like Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunanchal Pradesh and Telangana have not set up state human rights commission.

The bench, also comprising Justice R F Nariman, heard submissions relating to the proposal for streamlining the process of media briefings by police.

The bench posted the hearing on the issue after six weeks asking advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, who is assisting as amicus curiae (friend of the court), to frame a detailed questionnaire to be circulated to the Centre and state governments in two weeks.

The bench is examining the propriety of police officers briefing the media on the progress of an investigation of a particular case.

It asked Sankaranarayanan to prepare a comprehensive note and charts about various guidelines suggested by various parties in the matter.

The bench also told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that the Centre should not be on backfoot merely because law and order is a state subject and issue directions to state governments.

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