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Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana yesterday (1 October) proposed setting up special panels to probe into the complaints against "atrocities" committed by the members of the bureaucracy, especially the police forces.
The CJI orally observed that he was in favour of forming standing committees to investigate complaints of “atrocities” committed by the bureaucracy, especially police officers, on the common man. These committees will be headed by the Chief Justices of the High Courts.
“We are very disturbed by what the bureaucracy, particularly police officers, are doing... I was in favour of forming standing committees led by Chief Justices of High Courts to look into complaints of atrocities committed by bureaucrats, especially police officers,” he was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
The comment comes as a few cases of some police officers committing serious crimes are in the media spotlight.
Recently, police officers in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, have been accused of causing the death of a businessman during a raid in a hotel. In Tamil Nadu, the CBI chargesheeted nine policemen for the custodial deaths of father-son duo P Jayaraj and J Benicks. During the lockdown period, videos went viral on social media allegedly showing officers manhandling and mistreating the citizens.
CJI's observation came when the court was reserving judgment on petitions filed by suspended Chhattisgarh Additional Director General of Police Gurjinder Pal Singh. The latter had sought protection from arrest in various criminal cases, including sedition, extortion and criminal intimidation, filed against him by the current government.
While the court protected him in the sedition and extortion cases till the High Court decided them on merit in two months, it refused to protect him in the corruption case. Recently, in the same case, the apex court also noted how police officers act with impunity with one government but have to “pay back with interest” when a different party comes to power.
CJI N V Ramana's comment coincides with the Supreme Court condemning the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to uphold justice in the case of an extrajudicial killing.
The court accused the state government for shielding police officers accused in an encounter death even as the victim’s father Yash Pal Singh was made to run from pillar to post for justice for 19 long years.
The incident dates back to 2002 when Anand Pal Singh was killed in a police encounter. Shortly after, the police filed a closure report in the death, favouring the accused police officers. However, the trial court rejected the closure report in January 2005. Despite that, none of the police officers were arrested for the next nine months. Just one accused was arrested in October 2005, and the case remained pending for over a decade without further arrest.
A bench led by Justice Vineet Saran ordered the State government to cough up Rs 7 lakh as costs within a week to Yash Pal Singh. The apex court said, “This is a very serious case where the petitioner, who is 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.”