New Delhi, Aug 19 (PTI) The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking scrapping of a three-member judicial commission, led by former apex court judge Justice B S Chauhan, to inquire into the encounter of gangster Vikas Dubey.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said the allegations of bias made by the petitioner against the members of the Commission merely on the basis of newspaper reports and are liable to be rejected outright.
“The enquiry held would be in public domain and the petitioner has already been granted the liberty of participating therein. The report of the enquiry is ordered to be filed in the petitions which were filed before this Court. “Therefore, there would be sufficient safeguard to the manner in which the inquiry would be held. We find that the petitioner has been raising unnecessary apprehensions and repeated applications are being filed which in fact is hampering the process of inquiry,” the bench said.
The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said the entire basis for making the allegations is an article relied on by the petitioner said to have been published in the newspaper. “There is no other material on record to confirm the truth or otherwise of the statement made in the newspaper. “In our view this Court will have to be very circumspect while accepting such contentions based only on certain newspaper reports,” the bench said.
It said the apex court in a series of decisions has repeatedly held that the newspaper item without any further proof is of no evidentiary value. The said principle laid down has thereafter been taken note in several public interest litigations to reject the allegations contained in the petition supported by newspaper report, the top court said.
The bench said that the Chairman and a Member of the Commission had held high Constitutional positions and while making allegations the petitioner has based his claim only on the newspaper report and the manner in which the averments are made in the application is unacceptable.
The petitioner had alleged that the brother of Justice Chauhan is a legislator in Uttar Pradesh and his daughter is married to a Member of Parliament.
“The allegation that the brother of the chairman of the Commission is a legislator belonging to or supporting the party in power and that the member of the Commission is related to the IG of Police (Kanpur Range) are not sufficient to come to the conclusion that it would lead to bias or conflict of interest since there is no indication whatsoever as to the nature of influence such of those relatives would be able to exert and as to whether they are in a dominant position,” it said.
The court said the petitioner is a lawyer by profession who practices in Mumbai and has come up by way of Public Interest Litigation and is in no way connected to the incident in question which took place in Uttar Pradesh.
Therefore, the allegations of bias made by him against the members of the Commission merely on the basis of newspaper reports and nothing more, are liable to be rejected outright, it said.
“The petition filed by him in public interest was accepted and the Commission of Inquiry consisting of persons who had held high position has been constituted.
“For all the aforestated reasons we are of the opinion that the instant petition/application is without any merit and the same is accordingly dismissed,” the apex court said.
The verdict came on a plea field by advocate Ghanshyam Upadhaya seeking re-constitution of the inquiry commission and substituting its members -- Justice (retd) B S Chauhan, former Supreme Court judge, Justice (retd) Shashi Kant Agarwal and retired Uttar Pradesh DGP K L Gupta -- with other former judges of the apex court and retired DGPs.
Eight policemen, including DSP Devendra Mishra, were ambushed in Bikru village in Chaubeypur area of Kanpur when they were going to arrest Dubey and fell to bullets fired from rooftops shortly after midnight on July 3.
Dubey was killed in an encounter in the morning of July 10 when a police vehicle carrying him from Ujjain to Kanpur met with an accident and he tried to escape from the spot in Bhauti area, the police had said. PTI PKS ABA MNL SJK SA