Gujarat Police Encounters
Javed Akhtar v State of Gujarat
The Supreme Court is monitoring 22 alleged 'fake encounters' conducted by the Gujarat Police between 2002 and 2006.
Petitioners: Javed Akhtar; Shabnam Hashmi; BG Verghese
Lawyers: Prashant Bhushan
Respondent: State of Gujarat
Lawyers: Tushar Mehta; Hemantika Wahi
Were the 22 civilian deaths between 2002-2006 a result of fake encounters by Gujarat police authorities?
Is there a discernable pattern of targeting individuals from minority communities?
In 2007, three individuals – Javed Akhtar (poet), Sabnam Hasmi (social activist) and BS Verghese (veteran journalist) filed criminal Writ Petitions before the Supreme Court, requesting a judicial probe into 24 police encounters between 2002 and 2006.
In 2012, the Supreme Court formed a committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Justice H.S. Bedi to monitor the probe into the alleged fake police encounters by the Gujarat police. Many senior Gujarat politicians and police officials are under suspicion for their involvement.
The Court asked the Committee to examine if the encounters showed a pattern of accusing members of minority communities of being terrorists.
After several extensions, the H.S. Bedi Committee submitted its Report in a sealed cover in March 2018. The Committee did not investigate 5 cases including Shorabuddin Sheikh and Ishrat Jahan as these matters are sub-judice.
On December 2nd 2018, the Court ordered the State of Gujarat to file its reply to the H.S. Bedi Committee report by December 12th 2018. On December 3rd, Mr. Tushar Mehta appearing for the State of Gujarat had requested the Court to not make the Report public owing to its sensitive content. The Court on January 9th 2019, denied this request and ordered that copies of the Bedi Committee report be given to the petitioners and the State of Gujarat.