Thursday, March 05, 2009

AP High Court judgment on police encounter

Full-text of the judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in the case of Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee v. The Government of AP is posted here. The judgment required an FIR to be registered after every case of police encounter (I have read the case yet, this much is from news reports). The judgment was stayed by the Supreme Court yesterday.

1 comment:

K.V.DHANANJAY said...

This judgment appears to be well reasoned and unless it casts an impossible burden upon the Police, it ought to prevail upon appeal.

2 years ago, I read in Time Magazine that 23% of India's territory is no longer in the hands of the State but is presided over by Naxals. It is equally true that the approach of the Police to the problem posed by Naxals leaves too much to be desired.

Going through this judgment, it really didnt strike me that the State made any pursuasive argument at all. If the Judgment indeed addresses all the leading arguments made by the State, I am curious to see on what grounds the State sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Order says:
"(A) On issue No.1: That where a police officer causes death of a person, acting or purporting to act in discharge of official duties or in self-defense as the case may be, the first information relating to such circumstance (even when by a Police/Public Official; whether an alleged perpetrator is named or not) shall be recorded and registered as FIR, enumerating the relevant provisions of Law, (u/Sec. 154(1) Cr.P.C.) and shall be investigated (u/Sec. 156/157 Cr.P.C.)"

Is the above requirement too much really? Does the law expect the police to assume that killing humans is a routine part of their job? If we expect a Court of law to say that 'to kill' is not an ordinary incident of the job of a police, we must welcome this judgment.

I, for one, fully welcome this judgment. Its right time for civil liberty groups elsewhere to petition the Supreme Court to extend that Order to their States. Because, even should the judgment be affirmed eventually by the Supreme Court, it would apply only to the State of Andhra Pradesh though the Order of the Supreme Court would become a binding precedent that cannot be enforced in any State except by a specific Order by a High Court of that State. Or alternatively, by a specific Order of the Supreme Court in regard to another State.