Day 2 ArgumentsGujarat Police Encounters
January 9th 2018
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 H.S. Bedi Committee as expressing the views of the entire Committee and not just those of its Chairman, Ret’d Justice H.S. Bedi.
In the prior hearing on December 12th, the State of Gujarat had questioned whether Bedi J 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 December 12th hearing. The Court had accordingly asked Bedi J to respond to the issue. Bedi J has maintained that the report though submitted by him, was shared with other members of the committee.
Today, CJI Gogoi stated that the Court was rejecting the objections raised by the State of Gujarat. He stated that Bedi J had submitted a detailed explanation where he maintains that he shared the report with all other Committee members. Further, CJI Gogoi stated that Bedi J, 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.
The Court has yet to admit the final report at this stage. 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 culpable of crimes they are found guilty 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 H.S. 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.