The Supreme Court is monitoring 22 alleged "fake encounters" between the Gujarat Police and civilians, which resulted in the death of civilians, between 2002 and 2006. Today, CJI Gogoi held that the Court will take on record the final (11th) report of the HS Bedi Committee as expressing the views of the entire Committee and not just those of its Chairman, Ret'd Justice HS Bedi.
In the prior hearing on 12th December, the State of Gujarat had questioned whether Ret'd Justice HS Bedi had consulted with the other members of the Committee prior to submitting the final report on 3rd December 2018. Note that the State of Gujarat was supposed to have submitted its response to the final report prior to the 12th December hearing. The Court had accordingly asked Justice Bedi to respond to the issue. Justice Bedi has maintained that the report though submitted by him, was shared with other members of the committee.
Today, Justice Gogoi stated that the Court was rejecting the objections raised by the State of Gujarat. He stated that Justice Bedi had submitted a detailed explanation where he maintains that he shared the report with all other Committee members. Further, CJI Gogoi stated that Bedi, in his explanation, established that he submitted the 11th report because he was following a specific direction of the Court. According to the direction, the reports must be submitted by the Chaiperson of the Monitoring Committee, Justice Bedi in the present case.
The Court has yet to admit the final report at this stage, rather it has only rejected the objections raised by the State of Gujarat.
Next, the Court briefly addressed the issue of culpability established by the report. Are individuals culbable of crimes they are found guility of in the report? CJI Gogoi said that the appropriate trial courts should proceed accordingly in respective cases. He also said that it was too early to delve into this issue at this stage.
The Court directed a copy of the final HS Bedi Committee report to be given to the petitioners and granted the parties time to file their objections to the report.
The Court will next hear the matter after four weeks.