Srinagar: The Supreme Court of India on Monday declined to hear a Public Interest Litigation seeking probe by a Special Investigation Team into the killing of three persons from Rajouri allegedly in a fake encounter, reported Greater Kashmir.
Three militants were claimed to have been killed by army who was later joined by police and paramilitary CRPF. However, the families of the three persons from Rajouri, after failing to contact their sons since July 17 and seeing pictures of those killed in the encounter on social media, claimed the slain to be their kin who had gone to Shopian for work.
Advocate Salih Pirzada who represented the petitioner before the Supreme Court told Greater Kashmir that as the plea came up for hearing on Monday, a three-judge bench of justices Sanjay Krishan Kaul, Anirudh Bose and Krishna Murari asked him why the petitioner had not first approached the J&K High Court.
“I informed the bench that the same petitioner had filed a writ petition before the J&K High Court (on a different matter) related to the custodial killing of a school principal, Rizwan Pandit, but the government is yet to file the response to the plea despite passing of one year and after one year we cannot expect the required examination of the body,” he said, according to the report.
The bench, Salih said, however remarked that it cannot circumvent the J&K High Court. He said the bench gave him an option either to withdraw the petition and approach J&K High Court or it would be dismissed. “I withdrew the petition” he said.
The PIL was filed by Jammu & Kashmir Reconciliation Front through its chairman Dr Sandeep Mawa, a resident member of minority Kashmiri Pandit community.
The PIL sought a probe into the killing of trio Abrar Ahmad, Imtiyaz Ahmad and Abrar Ahmad who were allegedly slain in Shopian encounter on July 18.
“This PIL has been filed to bring forth the Human Right violations manipulated under the emblem of ‘Encounter’ where three labourers namely Ibrar Ahmad (16), Muhammed Ibrar (21) and Imtiaz Ahmad (26) have been killed on 18.07.2020 at Shopian district of J&K,” read the PIL.
It also sought a direction for investigation by a Special Investigation Team consisting of members other than from the J&K Police, to be monitored by Supreme Court.
The petitioner had also sought to quash the investigation initated by the J&K Police in the case it has registered with regard to the “encounter” for being in contravention to the law laid down by the apex court in the case.
The petitioner had submitted that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has customarily ignored the mandate of law judicially evolved by the Supreme Court to contain, prevent, investigate or penalize the custodial killings and fake encounters “which is predominant in the instant case”.
The petitioner also submitted that the cardinal principle of criminal jurisprudence is that the “one alleged of abuse of powers cannot be permitted to investigate his own cause”.
“The situation becomes vulnerable when the Shopian Police and Army primarily involved in the fake encounter are simultaneously investigating their own cause,” he had pleaded.
While the PIL had sought direction to Union Ministry of Home Affairs to constitute a High Powered Committee to analyze the aspect of criminalizing custodial killings and Fake encounters by way of a special legislation, it had also sought direction to the Ministry to constitute the State Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Courts in terms of Section 21 and 31 respectively in the territory of J&K.
The petitioner stated that “upon promulgation of J&K Reorganization Act, 2019 the J&K State Human Rights Commission ceased to exist and presently there is no forum or body to look into the matters related to Human Right Violations in J&K. “Moreover there is no designated court to take cognizance of complaints related to Human Rights Violations as mandated under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (Section 31) made applicable to the UT of J&K”, it said.
With inputs from GNS
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