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'Dubious Encounters Can't Be Used To Control Crime, Increasing Incidents Of Custodial Violence Alarming': Court Slams Delhi Police

Nupur Thapliyal
27 Nov 2021 5:48 AM GMT
Dubious Encounters Cant Be Used To Control Crime, Increasing Incidents Of Custodial Violence Alarming: Court Slams Delhi Police
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A Delhi Court on Friday pulled up the Delhi Police in a case concerning an alleged fake police encounter observing that dubious encounters cannot be used as a solution to control crime and that there has been an increase in the incidents of custodial violence which was alarming. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Kumar Meena was dealing with an application filed by one Rohit Gahlot alleging...

A Delhi Court on Friday pulled up the Delhi Police in a case concerning an alleged fake police encounter observing that dubious encounters cannot be used as a solution to control crime and that there has been an increase in the incidents of custodial violence which was alarming.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Kumar Meena was dealing with an application filed by one Rohit Gahlot alleging that he was shot by the police officials in his leg and was arrested after being taken from his home.

According to Rohit's counsel, it was submitted that as per newspaper and media bites by the concerned DCP, he clearly mentioned that Rohit was arrested in connection with Mittal Sweet shootout case which clearly suggested it to be a fake encounter.

"The investigating agency has acted in highly suspicious manner. The court has to convey with heavy heart that today we are celebrating 72nd Constitution Day and despite the presence of constitutional and statutory provisions, incident of custodial violence are increasing, which is nothing but alarming and depressing," the Court said.

It added:

"This is matter of deep concern, as it is done/committed by a person who is supposed to be protector of citizens; it is committed under the shield of uniform and authority in a situation where victim is totally helpless. No doubt and the court is conscious of the fact that police has to perform a difficult and delicate task to preserve law and order but to deal with such a delicate situation, a balanced approach is needed. In any situation human/ legal/ constitutional/ fundamental rights must be preserved of all citizen. Dubious encounters cannot be used as solution to control crime as it has to be remembered that the cure cannot be worse than disease itself."
"The preservation of rule of law, recognition of human rights and check on abuse or misuse of powers are the most sacrosanct function of the court. It has to be reminded that criminal antecedents and/or background cannot be a ground to crush legal/ human/ fundamental/ constitutional rights of a person. It does not matter whether the victim is or was a common person or a criminal or a militant or a terrorist, nor does it matter whether the aggressor was common man or state; the law is same for both and is equally applicable to both."

It was also alleged by applicant's counsel that Rohit's family members came to know about the fact of the alleged encounter out only through media reports and were not been allowed to meet him.

While the Court had directed the DCP concerned to clear its stand in the matter, the Court perused the reply and said:

"To utter surprise of this court and in total defiance of the orders of the court, the Worthy DCP has neither filed reply nor forwarded the same. The said reply is under signature of two ACPs and forwarded by DCP-1. Such indifferent attitude and consequent disobedience of orders of the court by a head of District Police in a case where serious doubts have been raised through the relevant material produced before the court, is matter of serious concern. When a senior officer does so, it causes pain to the judicial conscience and threat to the judicial authority."

The Court further noted that while it is not out of place for the investigating agency to make formal arrest at later stage and that the gravity of the situation would have warranted Rohit's formal arrest immediately after his apprehension, however the circumstances in the matter demonstrated the attempt of investigation agency to keep the act regarding encounter "under wraps from his family members and the delay in arrest was apparently staged" thereby reflecting on the malafide of the investigating agency.

"The court is mindful that this court, has limited jurisdiction and within the four walls/contour of that limited jurisdiction, the court has to fulfill its constitutional duty of preservation of rule of law, recognition of human rights and check on abuse or misuse of powers," the Court observed.

On the aspect of willful defiance or indifferent attitude of the concerned DCP, the Court was of the view that Rohit's father was running from pillar to post to find whereabout of his son, however, neither his complaint was heard by police officials nor he was allowed to meet with his son. 

"The casual attitude and consequent willful defiance of orders of the court by a district head of police, in a case where serious questions and doubts are being raised about violation of human/ legal/ constitutional/ fundamental rights, is not only troublesome but also very alarming. If this is done by a district head then what to expect from subordinate police officials," the Court observed at the outset. 

The Court accordingly directed the DCP to clarify the points which were specifically asked from him qua the fact of arrest of Rohit and also added that in case of failure in filing the same by next date of hearing, the court shall be compelled to take appropriate course of action.

"SHO PS Najafgarh is also directed to preserve the Cell tower location pertaining to two numbers belonging to applicant i.e. 9267951754 & 9310884652 for a period from 01.11.2021 to 03.11.2021. The SHO PS Najafgarh is also directed to preserve the CCTV footage as filed in the form of CD on 24.11.2021," the Court added.
"The court hope, expect, believe and have full faith that worthy Commissioner of Police, Delhi Police shall take all the steps to bring the goodwill that Delhi Police enjoys and known for. The wrong doer shall be dealt with iron hands," it added.

The Court also directed the SHO to file a compliance report regarding preservation or procuring of CDR and cell tower location of two numbers pertaining to Rohit and also to submit a report within five days.

"Put up on 07.01.2022 for compliance report from worthy Commissioner of Police, Delhi Police on the above mentioned aspect and reply/clarification from worthy DCP qua the aspect of arrest of accused in the present case i.e. FIR No.571/21, PS Najafgarh specifically mentioned in order dated 15.11.2021. Also, put up for compliance report from SHO concerned on the above mentioned aspects. Ahlmad is directed to file report with respect to compliance on the next date of hearing," the Court said.

The matter will now be heard on January 1.

Title: State Vs. Rohit Gehlot

Click Here To Read Order 


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