What are the SC guidelines?
Following guidelines have been given by the SC:
- In case of encounter resulting in death, the police must immediately lodge an FIR and furnish a copy to the court having jurisdiction over the area.
- In all cases of encounter deaths there shall be mandatory registration of FIRs and investigation by CID or any other independent agency.
- The encounters must be probed by state CID or separate police stations.
- An FIR or police complaint must be filed in every encounter killing case.
- There should be a magisterial inquiry in case of death.
- The encounters must be recorded in electronic or written form.
- The policeman will record tip-offs given to them about the criminals that result in encounter.
- The policeman involved in encounter shall surrender arms, weapons and ammunition after the encounter.
- No promotion or gallantry awards should be awarded by the government to any officer till the investigations of genuine encounter are established.
- The court said that the magisterial inquiry should be completed expeditiously.
- If a police officer is found guilty of involvement in a fake encounter, he should be proceeded against legally and departmentally.
- Status report of the probe should be submitted every six months to the human rights body of the state and NGRC by the police probing the encounter killing.
- All such investigations into the encounter deaths would be carried out by a SP rank officer from a different police district.
Why did SC got tough on the encounters?
The court's guidelines came on a petition by Surat Singh that was filed back in 1999.
Reports also say that, "In reply to a petition filed by NGO, People's Union for Civil Liberties' (PUCL) which, along with NHRC, the Apex court had given these directions.
The petition had also suggested for the setting up a separate and independent probe agency under NHRC or the state human rights commission to probe all encounter killings."
Reports also said, "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."
Cases from the past
In the past there have been cases which have raised questions on the encounters done by police. Cases like Ishrat Jahan encounter case and Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case were the ones which created a lot of hype after they came to fore.
The Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case is an ongoing criminal case in the Gujarat, after the state police killed underworld criminal Sohrabuddin Anwar Hussain Sheikh on November 26, 2005, while he was in police custody.
The infamous Ishrat Jahan encounter case is an ongoing criminal case in the Gujarat, took place on 15 June 2004, and involved encounter killings of Ishrat Jahan Raza, a 19-year old girl from Mumbai, and three men: Pranesh Pillai (alias Javed Gulam Sheikh), Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar who were alleged links to terrorists, by officers of the Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch.
Fake encounters cases rising
As per a 2013 Hindu report, "Government figures show that in the last four years, 555 fake encounter cases were registered across India, with majority being reported in Uttar Pradesh (138), followed by Manipur (62), Assam (52), West Bengal (35), Jharkhand (30), Chhattisgarh (29), Odisha (27), Jammu and Kashmir (26), Tamil Nadu (23) and Madhya Pradesh (20). Only 144 cases, out of 555, have been solved so far."