Thursday, June 1, 2023
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HomeTalk PointEncounters are not the way to punish criminals in a democracy

Encounters are not the way to punish criminals in a democracy

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Barely a week after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s controversial remarks that criminals in the state would “either be sent to jail or killed in police encounters”, the National Human Rights Commission served a notice to his government, seeking a detailed report on allegations of 19 encounter killings that have occurred over the past 6 months in the state.

Though encounter killings have long been known to occur throughout the country, the most recent remarks by Adityanath appear to suggest an official endorsement.

ThePrint asks: Does CM Adityanath’s statement encounter killings reveal the UP government’s official position?

It is not right to comment on a political leader’s statement, but to punish a criminal, encounters are not the way. Because ours is a democratic country where we have a system. And the rule of law must prevail in our country. The law states that guilt is required to be proved by the prosecution and if it is not proved then the accused is entitled to some benefit or acquittal.

Therefore, I must make the statement, that, every person whether he is a criminal or not, has a right to be heard, and therefore I won’t approve the idea of encountering, that is killing in a fake encounter.

But, if at all, if the criminal mounts an attack on the police or any other law enforcement agency, and if in order to combat that attack, if somebody dies, then perhaps it may be justified as an encounter.

Here are other sharp perspectives on Adityanath’s remark:

Colin Gonsalves, founder, of Human Rights Law Network
Vappala Balachandran, former special secretary, Cabinet Secretariat

In self-defence, or if at all the criminal attacks the victim and thus in order to save the life of the victim, then definitely police could be justified.

Every politician knows very well that the Supreme Court has issued certain guidelines, even the Bombay High Court has given guidelines on this matter and fake encounters are not permissible.

Ujjwal Nikam is a public prosecutor who worked on the 1993 Bombay bombings and 2008 Mumbai attacks

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