Fake Encounters And Violations Of The Human Rights
The 2020 encounter death of the gangster Vikas Dubey created a huge controversy and sparked debate on the police’s method of ‘Instant Justice’. This encounter created a mixed opinion among the people, many of them supported the incident and others questioned its constitutional legality. However, the above incident again raises the question of the validity of the extra-judicial killings and the heightened police brutality. Whereas, the concept of Instant Justice is not a new phenomenon and in a similar incident in 2020 wherein the four accused have been encountered in Hyderabad in the rape and murder case of a 27-year-old veterinarian doctor. While everyone praises such incidents we need to understand that they are merely accused and not proven guilty for their offence by the Courts. According to the NHRC data since 1993, more than 2560 cases of encounters have been reported in the country, out of which 1,224 encounters were found to be fake. Hence, the above data indicate that most encounters were fake which imposes a serious question on the instant justice method of the police officers.
After looking at such fake encounter incidents, the Supreme Court of India and the NHRC issued certain guidelines for the protection of accuse from police brutality and there is a need for proper enforcement of such guidelines as the police officials have no right to take away the life of an individual. In Prakash Kadam v. Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta, the Supreme Court of India held that fake encounters by police officials are cold-blooded murders and those committing such heinous acts must be given a death sentence. The main question is are we safe when the police are stepping out of their domain and entering the domain of the judiciary?
The Supreme Court of India in Om Prakash v. State of Jharkhand held that the main duty of the police is to arrest the accused and put them up for trial in front of the court and it is not the duty of the police to kill the accused merely because he is a criminal. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution provides personal liberty and protection of life to every individual and no one shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law. In Satyavani Ponrai v. Samuel Raj, the Apex Court held that fair investigation is compulsory under Articles 14, 21, and 39 of the Indian Constitution. In Anita Khushwaha v. Pushap Sudan, it was held that access to justice is a fundamental right of an individual guaranteed under Article 14 and Article 21 of the constitution. Hence, not providing an opportunity for the accused to be heard, fair criminal trial, and judgment based on evidence would lead to the violation of fundamental rights guaranteed to the accused.
The public without understanding the repercussions was praising such incidents but it left a negative impact on society and the Rule of Law. There are numerous incidents when police under pressure arrest innocent people and frame them as a dreaded criminal. Fake encounters are completely unconstitutional because it is the responsibility of the higher authorities and police to follow the constitutional principles and protect the fundamental right of the Right to Life of every individual irrespective of the fact that the person is innocent or a criminal. Hence, it is high time to take appropriate measures to protect the accused from the instant justice method of the police. Moreover, encounter killings must be properly investigated as it affects the credibility of the Rule of Law. The necessary steps need to be taken by the higher authorities to bring reforms in the criminal justice system and the implementation of laws protecting the rights of the accused in due time to curb the issue of fake counter otherwise it would soon become the “Rule of the Gun instead of the Rule of Law” which will end the people faith in the criminal justice system of our country.