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Hyderabad encounter: Supreme Court constitutes probe panel headed by ex-judge

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday constituted an inquiry commission headed by former Supreme Court judge V.S. Sirpurkar, former Bombay High Court judge Rekha Baldota and former CBI director D.R. Karthikeyan, to conduct an inquiry into the ‘encounter’ killing of the four accused in the rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices S.A. Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna said, “The commission will complete the inquiry in six months…and the chairman of the commission shall fix the first date hearing at Hyderabad.”

The top court grilled senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the Telangana government, on many aspects of the alleged encounter of the accused by the state police, and emphasised there should be an independent and unbiased inquiry into this incident.

The Chief Justice queried Rohatgi on the details of the circumstances which led to the police firing at the accused. “Why were the police officials, accompanying the accused to the crime scene, carrying loaded guns…why did the accused attack the policemen with stones, when they had snatched arms…Were they historysheeters?” said the Chief Justice in a volley of questions.

The state government counsel said the accused attempting to escape from the police custody attacked the policemen with stones, and the policemen fired in retaliation.

The apex court also asked the state officials to show the medical report of the injured policemen in the incident. “Why would they use stones, if they have pistols? Where is the cartridge? Who recovered it? Where are all those things kept?” reiterated the Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice asked Rohatgi, “Are you prosecuting the policemen?” He replied, no, as there is no reason to prosecute them at this moment. Chief Justice replied, “People should know the truth. We may order their prosecution right away. Don’t resist an inquiry.”

The Chief Justice said that the trial against accused in this case is of no consequence since all four are dead now. “They can’t present their case at all. The policemen will give their evidence. Be more fair… otherwise the trial will end up being a mockery,” said the Chief Justice.

The court observed that a suggestion was to restrain the media from publicising the proceedings of the inquiry commission and making comments in relation to the inquiry. “We accordingly issue notice to Press Council of India,” said the court.

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SC to hear plea of Azam’s son against disqualification on Nov 6

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Azam Khan, Jaya Prada, Amar Singh, Kalyan Singh, Election Commission, Samajwadi Party, Khaki underwear, Uttar Pradesh news, Politics news

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it will consider on November 6 the petitions against the Allahabad High Court order on the disqualification of Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan and holding bypoll in Suar Assembly segment in Uttar Pradesh.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde and comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian scheduled the matter for hearing next week.

 

Khan, son of Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan, was disqualified as an MLA after the High Court ordered his election void on December 16, 2019, as there was irregularity in the declaration of his date of birth. Khan had earlier also moved the apex court and the petition is still pending.

Last week, the High Court had directed the Election Commission to begin the process to conduct bypoll in the constituency in the absence of any interim order by the Supreme Court on Khan’s petition.

Khan has argued that the High Court has acted in haste in the backdrop that his petition against the disqualification order is yet to be decided by the top court, and also the direction to the poll body to conduct the bypoll is not correct.

The High Court, in the order, had said that the will of the people is supreme in a democracy and it cannot be lightly interfered with, and the Election Commission, under no circumstances, can frustrate the will of the people.

The High Court had noted that seat had remained vacant since December 2019, and also took a serious view of Election Commission failure to hold the bypoll.

Now, the Election Commission and Khan have moved the apex court to challenge this High Court order.

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