GUWAHATI, July 29 (PTI): The Gauhati High Court on Friday sought details from the Assam government on progress made in the investigation into the “police encounters” in the state since May last year.
Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), a division bench of Chief Justice RM Chhaya and Justice Soumitra Saikia asked the state to submit whether guidelines issued by the Supreme Court for investigation into encounter cases have been followed.
The court gave 60 days to the state to file the details.
“The State shall bring on record appropriate materials indicating the progress made in each of the case and further indicate whether the guidelines issued by the Apex Court in the case of People’s Union for Civil Liberties and another Vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors., reported in (2014) 10 SCC 635 are followed in later and spirit or not,” the court directed.
The matter has been listed for the next hearing on September 29.
“The court has asked for some more details in the case. We sought time to submit these and accordingly, it has been allowed to us,” Advocate General Devajit Saikia told reporters.
The PIL was filed by advocate Arif Md Yeasin Jwadder, casting doubt on the increasing number of deaths and injuries in police custody.
Besides the Assam government, the director general of police (DGP), state Law and Justice Department, National Human Rights Commission and Assam Human Rights Commission have been named as respondents in the petition.
Jwadder said, “Our counsel, prominent civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhusan, appeared at the hearing in virtual mode today. He argued that police have not followed the law laid down in People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) Vs State of Maharashtra & others by the Supreme Court in the alleged fake encounter cases.”
No enquiry was instituted in cases where the accused was injured, and the probes into the incidents which led to deaths were not conducted as per the apex court guidelines, he alleged.
“The court has now directed the government to submit the details of the independent enquiries and whether the apex court guidelines have been followed. We will wait for their response,” he said.
In an affidavit, the state government told the high court on June 20 that 161 incidents of police action had taken place from May 2021 to May this year.
These ‘actions’ caused the deaths of 51 people and 139 others were injured when they were in police custody.
The government claimed that all these cases have been investigated as per the directions of the Supreme Court.