In a key development, the Supreme Court on September 30 imposed a cost of Rs 7 lakh on the State of Uttar Pradesh in relation to an encounter killing case that happened 19 years ago while taking a dim view of the State for shielding police officers. The case pertains to a 2002 incident wherein the person was killed by the UP police; thereafter a closure report, dismissing charges against its own police officers, was submitted in 2005.
Matter ‘speaks volumes of how State machinery protected Uttar Pradesh police’
A division bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose opined that the laxity with which the Uttar Pradesh administration proceeded indicated how police officials were protected under the aegis of the State machinery.
While imposing the aforementioned cost, the bench said, “The petitioner, who is the father of the deceased who was killed in an alleged encounter by the police, has been running from pillar to post for the last 19 years. The laxity with which State has proceeded in the present case speaks volumes of how State machinery is defending or protecting its own officers.”
Therefore, the Top Court directed the UP government to deposit Rs 7 lakh with the registry of the Court which the petitioner will be entitled to withdraw.
After the police officials were dismissed of charges against them, the trial court had rejected the closure report, however, no person was held arrested. The status continues even as Allahabad High Court refused to entertain writ petitions and inherent powers of a High Court as prescribed under Section 482 of the CrPC. Further, the Apex Court was informed that despite the order of the trial court in 2018 and 2019 to freeze the remittance of salaries of concerned police officers, the order was not adhered to.
UP administration to find out why the matter was not taken up in years
Moreover, one of the accused even received his retiral dues in 2019 upon retiring from police services. It was only after the Top Court’s intervention on September 1, 2021, that two accused were booked and another had surrendered. Furthermore, the bench clarified that the SC is generally slow-paced in petitions directly filed under Article 32 but it was compelled to do otherwise in the case at hand in order to put justice in place. Article 32 provides for the Right to Constitutional Remedies and the right to move the Top Court by legitimate proceedings for the enforcement of rights conferred under the chapter
While the case has been listed for hearing on October 20, the counsel appearing on behalf of State vouched they will look into the matter as to why the case was not taken up for years.