Telangana encounter deaths: SC orders inquiry headed by ex-judge VS Sirpurkar

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The petition asks for a modification in a past Supreme Court judgment on rights available to death row convicts and says there should be a time limit to file a curative petition.

The Supreme Court appointed on Thursday(December 12) a three-member inquiry commission headed by former apex court judge V S Sirpurkar to inquire into the circumstances leading to the encounter killing of the four accused in the gang-rape and murder of a veterinarian in Telangana.

The commission, which also included former Bombay High Court judge Rekha Sondur Baldota and ex-CBI director D R Karthikeyan, will submit its report to the Supreme Court in six months.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde stayed proceedings pending in the Telangana High Court and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the case and sought an SIT report into the case, saying no other authority shall inquire into the matter pending before the commission of inquiry till further orders.

Also read: What Telangana cops call encounter, min asserts was a ‘lesson for rapists’

The bench, also comprising Justice S A Nazeer and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, ordered that security to the three-member commission shall be provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

The top court said that the six-month deadline for submission of the report by the commission shall start from the first day of hearing and it shall have all the power under the Commission of Inquiry Act for conducting inquiry into the December 6 encounter deaths. The bench noted that “conflicting versions about the incident demands an inquiry to uncover the true facts”.

The bench also took into account the submission made by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the Telangana government that a Special Investigation Team of the state police headed by a police officer of the level of Commissioner of Police was also investigating into the incident and would submit its report.

Also read: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana to implement ‘Zero FIR’ in all police stations

The bench was told that the SIT was inquiring into the cause of death of four persons accused in the rape and murder of the veterinarian and FIR was lodged against them for attempting to kill police officials who had taken them to the spot where the woman’s charred body was found.

In its order, the bench noted that obviously even if the SIT conducted investigation and prosecution of the dead persons, they can neither be tried or convicted.

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