The Supreme Court Thursday imposed interim costs of Rs. 7 lakh on the Uttar Pradesh Government for making a petitioner “run from pillar to post” in the pursuit of justice for his deceased son who was killed in an encounter by Uttar Pradesh’s Sikandrabad police 19 years ago.
It said the petitioner would be entitled to withdraw the money once it was deposited by the government with the Supreme Court’s registry.
Of the eight accused, four surrendered only in 2018, and the three accused police personnel Sanjeev Kumar (SI), Manoj Kumar (SI) and Jitendra Singh (Constable) were only arrested this month after the Supreme Court issued a notice on the petition, while the then SHO Randheer Singh is still absconding. The police are said to have made no effort to produce them before the trial court despite the latter issuing non-bailable warrants against them.
“This is a very serious case where the petitioner, who is the father of the deceased is running from pillar to post to ensure that justice is given to him in a case which was registered against the accused, who were all police officers”, a division bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose said.
Petitioner Yashpal Singh, the father of the deceased son, in his petition said that the accused police officer had been enjoying the patronage and support of the UP Police, who intentionally neither arrested them nor executed the orders passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bulandshahr to produce them before the court.
Additional Advocate General Garima Prasad, for Uttar Pradesh Government, informed the top court that the state government was taking every action in the matter, and had also initiated an enquiry into why no steps were taken at the appropriate stage.
Taking a grim view of the situation, the Supreme Court observed “Unfortunately, the manner in which the State has proceeded, the petitioner has been compelled to file this writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. Normally, we are slow in entertaining petitions directly filed in this Court but in the extraordinary circumstances of this case, we have entertained this petition to ensure that justice be given to the petitioner, which has been denied for about two decades”.
Advocate Divyesh Pratap Singh, for the petitioner, also informed the top court that the fourth accused, who is absconding, had retired from service in 2019 and had been paid all his retiral dues even though there was an order to pay his salary.
“Such conduct of the respondent/State cannot be understood. The laxity with which State has proceeded in the present case speaks volumes of how State machinery is defending or protecting its own police officers”, the court said.