The 11 convicted encounter cops, whose sentences were suspended by Maharashtra Government in an atrocious order on 2 December and who were directed to surrender before 4 January by the Bombay High Court, today were denied immediate relief by the Supreme Court's Vacation Bench comprising Justices SA Bobde and Prafulla C Pant.
The convicts, Dilip Sitaram Palande and others, in their SLPs, sought a stay on the High Court's interim order, asking them to surrender. KTS Tulsi and three other senior advocates appeared for the convict-appellants. Nitya Ramakrishnan appeared for the respondent, Ramprasad Gupta, who was the petitioner, who challenged the suspension of sentence, before the Bombay High Court. Curiously, the State of Maharashtra, which had ordered the suspension of their sentence, has been arraigned as the chief respondent in the SLP.
The SLP was heard for about 2 1/2 minutes by the Bench, which has issued notice, but refused to stay the high court's order. The bench has also refused to list it on 4 January, but has agreed to keep it in the first or second week after reopening. Consequently, the convicted policemen will have to return to prison on 4 January.
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