SC Orders Judicial Enquiry Into Telangana Encounter, Says 'People Have Right To Know The Truth'

A forensic official ((3L) holds a gun as police officers gather around the body of man at the site where police officers shot dead four detained gang-rape and murder suspects in Shadnagar, some 55 kilometres from Hyderabad, on December 6, 2019. (Photo: STR via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a judicial enquiry into the Telangana encounterLiveLaw reported.

The state government had raised objection to a parallel probe, saying one was already underway by the SIT.

The court said no other authority will enquire into the killing till the enquiry panel submits its report, meaning the enquiry by the NHRC and the hearings in the Telangana High Court have been stayed, LiveLaw’s report said.

The enquiry panel, headed by former SC judge Justice VS Sirpurkar, is to submit its report in 6 months.

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During the hearing, the Telangana government justified the killing of the four accused in the gang-rape and murder of a 27-year-old  veterinarian in Hyderabad. The state said the accused had snatched two firearms and shot at the police.

“They fired at police and pelted stones. In response, police opened fire,’ senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the state government, told the top court. 

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Chief Justice SA Bobde asked Rohatgi whether shots were fired at the police using the snatched guns. The senior advocate responded that shots had been fired but the bullets missed the police, according to LiveLaw.

“We want this to be investigated objectively,” CJI Bobde said, adding that certain aspects of the state’s stand on the incident required inquiry.

Rohatgi told the court that the Telangana government was not opposed to an impartial inquiry and a special investigation team had been formed to probe the encounter. The National Human Rights Commission had also begun a suo motu inquiry into the incident. 

Bobde said that the court wanted the result of probe. “We are not concerned with the probe itself. We want a committee that evaluates the result and submits a report.”

When the CJI suggested a parallel probe, Rohatgi objected to it, saying it would be against the law as one investigation was already underway.

“People have the right to know the truth. If you order criminal trial against the police, we won’t issue orders. Otherwise, we’re inclined to order inquiry.”

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.