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The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the central government and the apex human rights panel on the Gujarat government’s plea seeking directions to formulate a uniform policy for setting up an independent agency to probe alleged staged shootouts.

The notice was issued to the National Human Rights Commission and all state governments and union territories.

The petition said that such a step would ensure that “on the one hand, extra-judicial killings under the garb of ‘fake encounters’ stop and at the same time honest police officers, discharging their duties against terrorist organisations/organised criminals, are not demoralised, being under the threat of possibility of motivated allegations being made against them”.

An apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice R.P. Desai issued the notice after Additional Advocate General of Gujarat Tushar Mehta told the court that the vital question involved was that neither the rights of the people under Article 21 of the constitution were violated nor the protectors of law were haunted for the acts committed during their duty.

Gujarat’s petition sought direction that all cases of alleged staged shootout deaths in all the states in past 10 years be investigated by such an independent monitoring authority and special task force to be constituted by each state and union territory and the reports be placed before the apex court.

The petition said that an independent machinery to investigate alleged staged shootout deaths “would ensure that while human rights are protected, police force of terrorism-prone Gujarat state is not demoralised on the ground that some vested interest groups are selectively targeting police force of only one state”.

The petition said that “terror has already caused deaths of more than 72,000 civilians and 12,000 security personnel, approximately, in our country. It is submitted that out of approximately 670 districts in the country, as many as 270 districts are terror prone. Out of these 270 districts, 70 districts have already been ravaged by the terrorists”.

An honest officer would find it very difficult to function and discharge his duty if he would remain under a constant threat of being exposed to prosecution, it said.

It said that former police officer K.P.S. Gill who spearheaded his own style of policing during Punjab militancy was lauded as a hero and his advice should also be sought.



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