Encounters By Police: Legal Analysis of Their Authenticity in the Light of Current High Profile Events.

Is everything you witness a dream? Even before you could blink your eye and wonder at the re-enactment of the crime at any unearthly hour. But when it comes to feel the pride to live in a democratic country, do we even know the real meaning of democracy?  Well, we are free of the ruling body, but getting ruled by corruption and terrorism.

 This is our Incredible India which is practicing alleged extrajudicial killings by the police for their self-defense. Extrajudicial executions and torture aren’t new in India. Is escaping away from the problem a solution? For obvious reasons, there’s no casual way of telling how extrajudicial killings have been so common. There are no records, no data base into all the cases of use of lethal force by the police. Though, few cases are investigated, but very few are registered. But recently, courts have stepped into the matter of police killings as seen there has been no institutional introspection. Investigation held with certain police attitudes, keeping in mind the rule of law and life itself has been taken for granted. Then what’s the need of spending so many months putting all the efforts looking for evidences, when shooting a bullet can settle the dispute? People respect the laws and courts have diminished; police officials obey just because of fear.

There are many guidelines given by the Supreme Court and NHRCC to the police for investigating in such type of cases. Despite the guidelines which are law of land, Extrajudicial executions continue. The police department is getting guts for doing this just because the judiciary rarely holds police accountable. Even if the magistrate finds the police accountable they are booked under culpable homicide which is not amounting to murder. So there is no fear left in the police department of illegal killing.

In Uttar Pradesh, since 2016, there have been magisterial inquiries with around 75 encounter cases where deaths occurred, and the police has always been free and the result was clean chit. In many cases the encounter done by the police is premeditated murder. We say that Constitution protects the fundamental rights of every individual. Article 21 of the Constitution states, “No person will be deprived of his life or personal liberty except in accordance with the procedure established by law. “This means that before depriving a person of his life, the state is required to put the person on trial in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. In the trial, the accused must be informed of the charges against him and then given an opportunity to defend himself through counsel and only if found guilty then only he can be convicted and executed. But in reality, the police decides what to do with the accused.

Police authority should understand the difference between the accused and the conviction because they are charged with the responsibility of maintaining orders and enforcing the law. The police department is meant for maintaining law and order not for giving punishment, it is the work of the Judiciary to do so, we often see illegal killing by policemen are taking place impunity.

Such acts of police authority are egregious violations of constitutional and fundamental human rights and must be punished. These fundamental rights are norms which are enshrined in our Constitution, establish that ‘all persons are equal before the law, and are entitled, without discrimination, to equal protection of the law. We are living in a Democratic Society in which respect for human rights lies at the heart of good governance. It is the responsibility of the government to protect and promote the right of every individual living in this Democratic nation.

In India, it is an inexorable consequence, with a hub of civilization and the country’s global importance, where unlawful killing violates human rights. Though the Judiciary is fully empowered to take up such cases suo-moto, However, this has become a rare practice, because we all know that Judiciary is not at all interested. Thus, it has been seen by a number of people that the accused was a criminal and he deserved to die, but the people must be aware of the law which is supreme and to take strict action against the police who execute this illegal activity, no matter if the person is a criminal. All the state officials whether they are in the police departments, the army, the Judiciary, or the Civil Administration has the duty to respect the rights of every citizen living in this democratic nation. The role of the police is extremely significant in this respect.

  One of the recent incident of the gangster Vikas Dubey, in which he was murdered by the police officials. It was shocking for everyone, when the news emerged that gangster Dubey had been killed early in the morning, when he was trying to escape from one of the cars in the police convoy taking him toppled near Kanpur, all of a sudden the herd of cattle came on the road, other policemen got injured and fell unconscious. This claim from police officials are highly inconvincible, they tried to give a filmy cover to this encounter. This killing has all the signs of extrajudicial execution, it is unbelievable to know that the gangster who was under the police custody for a while and was shot dead the next minute. On the other, it is pretty possible that the police were in a revengeful mindset because of the killing of their other policemen. After all this gangster’s killing was not the first encounter of the police authorities.

One of the recent astonishing case that of Priyanka Reddy’s gang rape case which happened about a few months back, in which four people were accused in Hyderabad, leading with rape- murder case. Four of them were arrested and were in judicial custody in Hyderabad jail. A few days later four of them were killed and the police stated as encounter case. Even though people were happy that the rapist have been killed. But still the scene held by police can be described as horrible! As it’s their duty to take in charge of all the inspection and proper security measures. There have been questions saying as, firing took place by the police. Victims family was in peace as the rapists were killed. But police being taking certain decisions and claiming as encounters may not always be the correct solution.

India witnesses many such cases, there’s another case which actually deals with police officers acting as if killing the suspects is a game of kids. This case is known as Ishrat Jahan Encounter case, In which a 20 years old girl from Mumbai, was killed along with two other suspects near Ahmedabad, police helping them as terrorists, who had planned to kill Gujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi. After the investigation by CBI, it resulted that encounter had taken place by the police and a charge sheet was being filed against these police officers as they were involved in this crime.

Here, the matter is not just about the encounter, if we see the custodial deaths in Sathankulam in Tamil Nadu ,in which father and son were brutally tortured and were taken to the place where the cameras were not functioning, taking the benefit of this the police officers  dipped metal lathis roughly in their butt holes by the  just because they violated the guidelines as their shop was opened after 9 pm for just 15 minutes longer in this COVID Lockdown ,this resulted into severe torture by Policemen, Genital areas of the accused were completely damaged and there was blood shredding everywhere and this made them lose their lives.  There must be no excuse for custodial death and brutal torture by any police officer as they have no right to repeal the basic legal right of arrested person and we need an urgent police reform to punish such police officials who think that they have all sovereign power to do anything with anyone or else there will be many instances where policemen will charge many false cases against the victim and will make him suffer till death. Because of all such inhuman acts by the administration, people are losing faith in Law. Due to such acts by the police authorities that brings shame on the khaki uniform in the eye of all the citizens living in this so called democratic nation.

Police are meant to enforce the law and order but instead they are taking law into their own hands, In the case of Nilabati Behera v State of Orissa[1] the court contented that even convicts and prisoners have right under Article 21 and no administrative body has right to violate any persons fundamental right living in this democratic nation. Every administrative body shall understand that “with great power comes great responsibility”!!

We may conclude here, as these fake encounters are a great disrespect to the country’s image calling it as a Constitutional Democracy and claims the principle of upholding the rule of law and justice. Judicial administrations must win back the trust of the people and an example shall be set in order to deter such activities of barbarism for our future.

India deserves better, only its leadership has resulted it to be incapable of achieving it and its citizens of demanding it. Let the road from here may not condemn the dark and lead into infinite darkness.

<strong>Arpit Bagdiya</strong>
Arpit Bagdiya

TY-BBA.LLB Student at MIT-WPU School of law

<strong>Tina Gurnani  </strong>
Tina Gurnani  

SY-BBA.LLB Student at MIT-WPU School of law

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