ENCOUNTER DEATHS IN U.P. A SERIOUS ISSUE, OBSERVES SC
15, Jan 2019
Prelims level : Mains level : Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance
- The Supreme Court on Monday observed that a “very serious issue” has been raised in a petition seeking a CBI probe into 1,100 police encounters which have taken place in Uttar Pradesh under the Yogi Adityanath government.
- Filed by the NGO, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), the petition termed the encounters “massive administrative liquidations.”
- On Monday, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi adjourned the case to February 12. The court had asked the State government to first file its response to the petition way back on July 2 last year.
Open defiance: PUCL:
- The PUCL has submitted that the police encounters were endorsed by the State administration in “open defiance” of human rights and civil liberties. That is, the State machinery chose to end lives instead of bringing people for trial.
- “The state cannot adopt such means which are against the constitutional principles to fight with terrorism or hardened criminals. Such extra-judicial killings in the name of encounters are considered ‘state-sponsored terror’,” the petition said.
- In this context, the petition refers to reported statements made by Chief Minister Adityanath like “criminals will be jailed or killed in encounters” and “everyone should be guaranteed security, but those who want to disturb peace of the society and believe in the gun, should be given the answer in the language of the gun.” The petition said the National Human Rights Commission had written to the State government in response to the Chief Minister’s statements, saying that police personnel were misusing their powers to settle scores. The Commission had said “creating an atmosphere of fear is not the correct way to deal with the crime”.
- The petition, which refers extensively to reports in The Hindu on the police encounters, said facts available in the public domain show that over 1,100 encounters have taken place in the past year, wherein 49 people were killed and 370 injured.
“According to the figures given by the State of U.P. to the NHRC, in the encounters, 45 persons have died between 01.01.2017-31.03.2018. Each such encounter is required to be investigated on the basis of FIR, followed by a Magisterial Inquiry and thereafter, a criminal trial in accordance with law,” it said.
Ethical Issues involved:
- Gandhiji said” An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”. An extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. It is right when it is done on the pretext of self defense, national security at stake or when it involves Utilitarian Principle(consequentialism) but unethical when it is done with a targeted approach.
- Various ethical issues- Rule of Law-It bypass due process of law which require that every alternative should be provided to accused.
- Humanitarian-killing a person without any retaliation is nothing more than a barbaric act of killing which should come with a probe against the person who has done this gruesome act. Constitution- It is against our fundamental right which talks about a life of dignity.
Life is the most precious possession of an individual and depriving someone of it should be the exception and not the rule Eg Saurabuddin case,20 woodcutters in AP etc.,
- Herd Mentality- Encounter is wrong, it is the mentality of a mob which see things through the lens of agitation than justice. Misue of Policy/slippery slope-The worry here is about breaking down the barrier between legitimate killing in self-defense or in punishment, versus the sort of illegimate killing