Guj encounters: SC brushes aside allegation of Modi govt

Supreme Court on Friday appointed its former judge, Justice H S Bedi as the chairman of the monitoring authority looking into the fake encounter killings.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday brushed aside the allegation of Gujarat government that it was "selectively" targetted on human rights issue and the same
yardstick was not applied in dealing with cases of alleged encounter killings in other states.

"You bring human rights violations from other states. You will find we will respond with same alacrity," a bench comprising justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai said.

The remarks were made by the bench during the hearing of the petitions in which it appointed former apex court judge justice HS Bedi as the Chairman of the monitoring authority looking into the investigations of 22 cases of alleged encounter killings in Gujarat between 2002 to 2006.

Gujarat`s Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta had argued that the court should show similar anxiety in hearing cases of human rights violations and encounter killings in other states.

He submitted the approach of court should not be different for one state and petitioners should not be permitted to be selective for one state and the same approach should be towards other states on identical matter.

"Let us not be selective in implementation of human rights issue, qua one state," Mehta said and added there was a need to go into encounter killings in other states also.

The bench also declined the plea of Gujarat government to wait till March 12 as it was trying to sort out the issue relating to the appointment of chairman of the monitoring authority.

"We have something in our mind and wait till March 12, we will file an affidavit," Mehta submitted.

However, the bench said "we will not permit to file affidavit at this stage".

Gujarat government also complained that its case was based on the documents supplied by the leader of the opposition in the state assembly.

It said the petition filed on the encounters does not need the interference of the apex court.

However, the bench said "we are not going back with our previous order of January 25."

The Supreme Court bench had on January 25 asked the monitoring authority to place before it a preliminary report within three months on the killings in alleged fake encounters between 2002 and 2006 in Gujarat, purportedly showing a
pattern that people from the minority community were targeted as terrorists.

The bench was hearing two PILs filed by veteran journalist BG Verghese and poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar who had sought a direction for a probe by an independent agency or CBI so that the "truth may come out".


The bench was hearing two PILs filed by veteran
journalist B G Verghese and poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar,
who had sought a direction for a probe by an independent
agency or the CBI so that the "truth may come out".

Verghese had said the pattern of killings showed there
was a need for investigation and had sought a direction to the
Centre and the Gujarat government to order an inquiry into the
encounter killings and compensation to the next of the kin.

Akhtar, in his petition, had cited news reports and a
sting operation done by a news magazine into the killing of an
alleged criminal Sameer Khan in October 2002.

The bench, in its order, had noted his allegations that
it was a fake encounter and that there was an attempt for its
"cover up" by the Gujarat government.

Khan, who was in police custody, was killed on the
intervening night of October 21-22, 2002, when he allegedly
snatched the revolver of a policeman who had accompanied him
with a team to a spot where he had been accused of having
murdered a constable.

An FIR was registered alleging that Khan was involved in
a conspiracy hatched by Pakistan`s Inter Services Intelligence
(ISI) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) to assassinate Gujarat Chief
Minister Narender Modi and other leaders.

Akhtar, who jointly filed the petition along with social
activist Shabnam Hashmi, had alleged it was the same team of
Gujarat police which allegedly killed Sohrabuddin Sheikh in
the fake encounter and later murdered his wife Kauser Bi.

Their petitions, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan,
had contended there were other media reports of alleged
killings of innocent persons in fake encounters by the same
team of Gujarat police and sought investigation by an SIT into
the "cover-up".


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