The Gauhati High Court reserved its verdict on the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on fake encounters on January 18.
During hearing of the petition, the petitioner argued that First Information Reports (FIR) have been lodged against the victims and not against the police personnel as mandated in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) judgment.
The state government in its latest updated affidavit stated that 171 incidents of police firings and four custodial deaths have taken place in the state.
However, the petitioner argued before the court that independent investigations have not been done as mandated under PUCL vs state of Maharashtra case. He further stated that only magisterial enquiries were done in 92 incidents, Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) tests were done in 48 incidents and ballistic tests were done in 40 incidents. The petitioner argued that without complete FSL and ballistic tests, how could independent investigations be done.
The petitioner stated that the state government in its latest affidavit stated that 171 police firings and four custodial deaths happened, taking the total to 175 incidents, however, independent investigations have not been done as mandated under PUCL judgement.
Activist and lawyer from Assam based in Delhi, Arif Jwadder, had filed the PIL seeking inquiry into the encounters by an independent agency such as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Special Investigation Team (SIT) or any police team from other states under the supervision of the court.
Besides the Assam government, state DGP, Law and Justice Department, National Human Rights Commission and Assam Huma Rights Commission have been named as respondents in the PIL filed by Jwadder. According to the petitioner, the dead or the injured persons were not militants and it cannot be the case that all the accused could snatch a service revolver from a trained police officer.
On hearing both sides the Special Division Bench of Justice Suman Shayam and Justice Susmita Phukan Khaund reserved the judgement.