The Supreme Court has directed the UP government to pay Rs. 7 lakhs in compensation to a man who has been seeking justice for his son’s alleged death in encounter by UP Police, for over two decades. The bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose considered it to be a very serious case “where the petitioner, who is father of the deceased is running from pillar to post to ensure that the justice is given to him in a case which was registered against the accused, who were all police officers”. The state government has repeatedly defied court order as per the petitioner, to stop the salary of the accused police officials and not even at one instance the officers were arrested and only after the Supreme Court’s intervention, have they been arrested, with one accused absconding.
In 2002, the petitioner’s son was killed in an alleged encounter by the police. Since then, the petitioner has been running pillar to post seeking justice for the death of his son.
A closure report was filed by the police which was rejected by the trial court in January 2005 vide a detailed reasoned order. Thereafter, the accused policemen were not even arrested for the next 9 months until the proceedings were stayed by the trial court in October 2005. Even the high court had dismissed the writ petition of one of the accused in 2017. Further, in 2018 Trial Court had directed the respondent/State to stop payment of salary of the accused persons but still the same was not done except in the case of one accused. Once again in April 2019, an order of stopping of the salary of the accused was passed which has allegedly not yet been complied.
At the court
Only after the Supreme Court issued notice to the state government, did it arrest 3 accused while the fourth accused remains absconding.
The petitioner’s counsel submitted that the fourth accused, who is absconding, has retired from service in the year 2019 and has been paid all his retiral dues even though there was an order for stopping payment of salary. To this, the court responded, “Such conduct of the respondent/State cannot be understood. The laxity with which State has proceeded in the present case speaks volumes of how State machinery is defending or protecting its own police officers.”
The court has decided to entertain this direct petition filed before it expeditiously so as to ensure justice to the petitioner which has been denied to him for 2 decades. “Normally, we are slow in entertaining petitions directly filed in this Court but in the extraordinary circumstances of this case, we have entertained this petition to ensure that justice be given to the petitioner, which has been denied for about two decades,” the court said.
Garima Prasad, Additional Advocate General for UP submitted that the State is taking every action in the matter and has also initiated an enquiry as to why steps were not taken at the appropriate stage.
However, considering the facts of the case and keeping in view the totality of the circumstances and the sufferings which the petitioner has undergone, the court directed UP government to deposit Rs. 7 lakh with the court’s registry as interim costs within 1 week, in order to compensate the petitioner.
The case will next be heard on October 20.
In the National Crime Records Bureau’s Crime in India report of 2020, 20 cases have been registered against police personnel for human rights violations including encounter killing, deaths in custody, extortion and ‘others’. Out of this, 3 cases were of encounter killings whereby two policemen were arrested however, none have been chargesheeted and none have been convicted in 2020.
The order may be read here: