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Plea in SC for CBI probe in Telangana

A parallel media trial also contributed to the killing of the four suspects, says petition
The Supreme Court of India

Our Legal Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 07.12.19, 09:24 PM

Two separate petitions filed in the Supreme Court on Saturday sought a CBI probe into the alleged encounter killing of four rape and murder suspects by Telangana police and action against Jaya Bachchan and Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal for suggesting swift and extreme action to satiate public anger.

One of the petitions also urged the apex court to restrain the media from publishing any material related to the crime, claiming that a parallel media trial also contributed to the killing of the four suspects.

The petitions, filed by Supreme Court advocates G.S. Mani and Manohar Lal Sharma, are expected to come up for preliminary consideration either on Monday or on Tuesday.

The petition filed by Sharma has sought a CBI probe monitored by a retired Supreme Court judge and raised the following questions for the court’s consideration:

  • Whether killing an arrested person in police custody without trial is not violation of Article 21 (fundamental right to life and liberty) of the Constitution.

  • Whether political leaders and the media, who created pressure, conducted media trials and demanded the hanging or killing of the arrested persons before a court’s pronouncement of guilt and punishment are also not liable for abetment of the killings in police custody.

Advocate Mani, who was the first to file a petition, pleaded that while none would endorse crimes of rape and murder of women in different parts of the country, the manner in which the four accused persons in Telangana were killed by the police to divert public criticism was impermissible in law.

It had not been established whether the suspects had actually raped and burnt to death the veterinary doctor, or whether the police were trying to shield some other accused, Mani’s petition said.

“Indisputably, no one including these PIL writ petitioners, will support the accused persons who are involved in the gang rape and murder cases against innocent young women in this country.

“…Such fake encounter killing was conducted only to divert the public reaction over sensational gang rape and murder cases against innocent young girls and may be to protect the real culprits which is very serious, painful and not only impermissible under the rule of law but such fake encounter killing amounts to pre-planned murders in the hands of police officers with the help of power and public support,” the petition said.

Mani urged the Supreme Court to take cognisance of the alleged encounter and as an interim measure, divest the police officers responsible for the killings of their duties so that more evidence is not destroyed.

“There is a clear chance of destroying the evidence available against the respondent police officers who are involved in the fake encounter killing, it is therefore urged that this Hon’ble Court may restrain the concerned police officers from respective official duties in the present case till the disposal of the case and till the completion of an independent investigation.

“Since there is a chance of tampering with evidence and destroying the material documents and evidence by the concerned police officers who are in high level, this Hon’ble Court may hear this PIL writ petition on an urgent basis and pass an appropriate order accordingly in the interest of justice,” the petition added.

The petition filed by advocate Sharma stated that besides the provocative statements made by Samajwadi MP Jaya and Maliwal, a media trial had been conducted, sparking cries for instant justice.


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