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12/3/2018 Gujarat encounters: SC gives time for State govt to respond - The Hindu

NATI ONAL

SC allows Gujarat to file affidavit explaining why report on 22 'encounters'


should not be made available to petitioners
Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi makes its intention clear that it will hear the PIL pleas that have
been pending for years in the court adjourned from date to date.

The Supreme Court on Monday, December 3, 2018, gave the Gujarat government an opportunity to file an affidavit giving
reasons why an apex court-appointed committee’s report on 22 ‘fake’ police encounters, which occurred during Narendra Modi’s
chief ministership between 2002 and 2006, should not be made available to petitioners seeking a fair and independent probe into
the ‘killings’.

A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI)  Ranjan Gogoi made its intention clear that it would hear the PILs, which have been
pending for years in the court, adjourned from date to date.
“We have to get to this... when do we do it?” the CJI addressed the lawyers with the petition in hand, referring to the case’s long
pendency in court.

Advocates Prashant Bhushan and Nitya Ramakrishnan, for petitioners B.G. Verghese and lyricist Javed Akhtar, said the committee
appointed by the Court and led by its former judge, Justice H.S. Bedi, had filed a report in the Court earlier this year after the
completion of its inquiry into the “encounter”.

“Report copy needs to be supplied,” Mr. Bhushan addressed the Bench, also comprising Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph.

At this point, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta intervened, saying a copy of the report should not be shared immediately. He said he
had “something responsible to say.”

“Ok, say it,” the CJI told him. But Mr. Mehta said he would prefer to put it down in an affidavit.
In its order, the court recorded the S-G’s objection, saying, “The Solicitor General wants to submit an affidavit before the court
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12/3/2018 Gujarat encounters: SC gives time for State govt to respond - The Hindu

Krishnadas Rajagopal
N EW DELHI, DECEMBER 03, 201 8 1 3:55 IS T
U PDATED: DECEMBER 03, 201 8 1 5:20 IS T

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12/3/2018 Gujarat encounters: SC gives time for State govt to respond - The Hindu

about making available the inquiry report.”

The court stood firm and posted the next hearing for December 12 though Mr. Mehta urged it to list the case after the winter
vacations in January.

In 2012, Justice Bedi had replaced Justice M.B. Shah as the committee’s chairperson. The petitions had sought independent
investigations by CBI/ SIT alleging fake encounters and cover up into killings in cold blood.

Even then the apex court had noted that the case has been “pending for years without any substantive orders passed.” It had asked
the committee to “look into all these cases thoroughly so that the truth is revealed.”

In his petition filed in 2007 in the Supreme Court, Mr. Verghese had raised suspicions about the encounter deaths between 2003
and 2006. He produced on record before the court the very list that the Gujarat government had furnished to the State Legislative
Assembly on the details of the encounters.

The list, he had alleged, showed that the encounter killings span a range of persons that includes workmen who have come in
from outside the State to suspected terrorists. The ages of those killed are in the range between 22 and 37. It was not clear if the
families of those killed were even aware of the fate of these young persons.

“There is a need to investigate this pattern and there must be a system in place to ensure that armed personnel do not easily do
away with lives of citizens,” he had submitted.

Mr. Akhtar had highlighted a case involving the killing of Sameer Khan and alleged that in all these cases the police version was
invariably that the victims were terrorists from Jaish-e-Mohammed on a mission to assassinate Mr. Modi.

The court had then made it clear that the cases did not include those already under investigation by the CBI or SIT as per Supreme
Court or High Court orders. This would mean the Sohrabuddin-Kauser Bi,Tulsiram Prajapati and Ishrat Jahan cases were outside
purview.

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12/3/2018 Gujarat encounters: SC gives time for State govt to respond - The Hindu

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