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Emotions and sentiments have no place in 'Criminal Justice System' - Hyderabad Encounter
12/7/2019 9:45:34 PM
Mahadeep Singh Jamwal

The article has been based on an experience of 37 years as police officer and by keeping away the emotional sentiments exhibited by over enthusiastic community (deprived of the knowledge of 'Rule of Law' and 'Criminal Justice System'), in the shape of sweets distribution, showering petals on those responsible for carrying on the encounter. The emotional exhibition by the public speaks of the no-confidence over the system of dealing with rapists and delay in bringing them to the logical conclusion by Justice System. Justice is like a train that is nearly always late - Yevgeny Yevtushenko. The impatience of the jubilant community get strengthened by the delay of the execution of the verdict in 'Nirbhaya Case'. Nobody gets justice. People only get good luck or bad luck - Orson Welles. Many of the responsible personality's statements on the encounter, if considered with respect to aspect of 'Criminal Justice System' appears to be non-judicious in nature and hints towards their mentality of damaging the criminal justice system and against the 'Rule of Justice'. Police as well as lawyers both segment of the 'Criminal Justice System' have divergent opinion on the encounter. As a freelance writer, my attempt is to explore the pros and cons of the act of Hyderabad police and how far the Constitution as well as Law permits law enforcing agencies to act for their self defence resulting into encounters.
The episode has its take off on 27th November, when the 27-year-old veterinary doctor, working in a state-run hospital, went missing and her charred body was found on the outskirts of the Shamshabad city of Hyderabad on 28th November. On November 29, police arrested four accused, (charged under IPC sections 302 'murder', 375 'rape' and 362 'abduction') and were sent to 14-day judicial custody. After national outrage, the Telangana government set up a fast track court to try the accused. The four were taken to Chatanapally, on 5th of December midnight, where the accused had burnt the woman's body, for crime reconstruction. When they allegedly tried to escape by attacking the cops in self defense (police theory) police killed all the four accused in an encounter. Here after, police action is shady and it requires clarifying the following points to satiate those condemning the police encounter. Moreover Police is neither un-bridled horse to carry out its own mission nor it is above law but answerable to the judiciary:
Why the police have delayed for seven days, after the accused were arrested on 29th November, an important aspect of reconstruction of scene of crime, for vital scientific evidence.
The midnight operation of reconstruction of scene of crime/recovery of cell phone and bike of the victim after seven days of arrest is a big question mark on the theory of police that timing was because of public outrage against accused persons.
When any fact is deposed from a person accused of any offence, in the custody of a police officer followed by recovery in consequence of information deposed is governed by section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Here the recovery must be in presence of the magistrate or independent reliable witnesses. Who were such witnesses accompanying the police party is a mystery and police has to explain it?
When the police carried these four criminals to the scene of crime, it must have been a team of dozens of police officers/officials much more than accused, escorting them?
The claima of Telangana Police that its personnel resorted to "retaliatory" firing after two of the accused opened fire at police after snatching "unlocked" two pistols from two police officials and other accused picked up sticks and stones and began to throw at the police officers. It is a theory having many question marks in itself. How a hand-cuffed person (Whenever any criminal is taken for some recovery or reconstruction of scene of crime, the accused is always hand cuffed) can snatch a weapon and attack when many times more police wallas were there?
Incidentally, this is the second such encounter in Telangana, where those accused of crime against women, have been shot dead. Earlier one in 2008, when same police officer now in Cyberabad Mr. V C Sajjanar was SP of Warangal, three accused of acid attack were killed in encounter on similar claim of trying to escape from police custody. Is it a co-incidence or something else, is a matter of seriousness?
When one has to resort to use of force, and the right to self-defence, it is utmost important to understand how much damage one can legally inflict on an assailant. The right of self defence as defined in section 96 of the IPC is not absolute but is clearly qualified by section 99 of IPC which says that right in no case extends to the inflicting of more harm than it is necessary for self defence. It is important point of enquiry by a judicial officer to justify the claim of self defence by the Police in this case.
A look at the statistics of POCSO cases that reach its logical conclusion with convictions in Telangana reveal that there are more number of acquittals compared to convictions. Is it due to poor quality of investigation also deserved to be looked into? Encounters speaks that no investigation, no charge sheet, no trial but instant decision. There should not be undue haste, or delay in justice delivery system - Justice S A Bobde. Where rapists deserve no mercy at the same time we must recognize that to hold someone guilty is the prerogative of the Honorable courts and till then the alleged accused are considered innocent. Had these four (alleged) accused met the same fate through 'Criminal Justice System', it would have given due credit to the investigating agency but the fingers pointed towards Telangana Police are self creation of the police. A judicial enquiry into the matter is necessity to unfold the mystery behind the controversial encounter. Emotions and sentiments have no place in the eyes of justice.
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