The Madhya Pradesh High Court has turned down the plea of a woman demanding certain documents of the inquiry into the Bhopal Central Jail break.
The court observed: “The family members of the deceased undertrials are not concerned with such documents as they are alien for such aspect of the inquiry.”
About the concern of petitioner that the commission’s findings might affect the family reputation, the court said “The petitioner is not a person whose reputation is likely to be affected in terms of Section 8B (b) of the Commissions of Inquiry Act.”
“The terms of reference of the Inquiry Commission do not pertain to the reputation of the family members,” the court said.
“The reputation of the deceased undertrials is not in question as the scope of terms of reference of the Commission is not as to whether the deceased under trials were terrorist or anti-national persons or members of the SIMI activist. The Commission was to examine the manner of escape of undertrials,” the court said.
The petitioner, Huzra Bee, is the mother of Mohammad Salik, who is one of the eight undertrials killed in the alleged police encounter on 31.10.2016, near village Manikhedi coming under police station Gunga in Bhopal.
The eight undertrials, suspected to be SIMI activists ,escaped from the Central Jail in the intervening night of October 30-31, 2016.
The state government, on 7.11.16, constituted a one-man inquiry commission to probe into the entire incident.
The petitioner sought direction to the inquiry commission for supply of all documents related to the incident, set aside by the order passed by it on 22.4.2017 on her applications and to permit cross-examining of witnesses.
The petitioner argued that the petitioner and other persons were the affected parties as their reputation was likely to be affected by any finding in the inquiry being conducted by the commission and they had right to protect the reputation of the family in such proceedings.
The commission, considering the applications of the petitioner, issued order on 22.4.17, holding that the inquiry being conducted by it cannot be taken at par with that of a criminal trial.
The commission supplied 25 documents to the petitioner, including FIRs, the case diary and the post-mortem report.
While the commission refused to give documents, including CDs, video etc., for being sensitive in nature.
A division bench of Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla said: “In respect of demand of documents, most of them relate to jail breaking. The family members of the deceased undertrials are not concerned with such documents as they are alien for such aspect of the Inquiry.”
“The function of the Commission is to collect facts, record findings and give recommendations which are not per se enforceable,” the court said.
The court dismissed the petition.