Guwahati: The alleged fake encounter case of Manipur police has received another turn now as the Supreme Court has dismissed a plea filed by the Manipur police personnel on Monday. The police personnel had requested for a recusal of two judges of the bench from their case. Notably, the case is under a CBI Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigation at present.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit said, "The observations are not intended to compromise the independence of SIT probing the fake encounters in Manipur." Further, the need for an institutional integrity of the judiciary and the CBI is being stressed by the bench.
The petition filed by the police personnel included an objection to the judges calling the accused who were chargesheeted by the SIT in the encounter cases, as "murderers". The police say that the remarks that the bench passed during a hearing is prejudicial as the case has not been settled yet and the police personnel are not pronounced as guilty.
In order to probe the inside story of the fake encounter case, the Supreme Court, on July 14, 2017, had set up a SIT which comprised of CBI officers. As the court is hearing a PIL seeking a probe into as many as 1,528 cases of alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur, the court had ordered the SIT to take charge of the probing and come out with an adequate investigation.
Further, the court also makes it clear that although the bench remarked as “murderers” during the hearing on July 30, but it was not “designed or directed” against any individual and it came out spontaneously during the discussion in the court with the CBI Director.
Justice Lalit, further explaining the matter taking place on July 30, said that they were asking the Central Bureau of Investigation Director about the status of the case as the CBI official was also present in the court. The CBI official, in return, had informed the court that all total 14 persons were charge sheeted for the alleged offences of murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi had told the court that there are chances for the persons who were charge sheeted to not receive a fair trial due to the remarks by the bench. The lawyer also made it clear that nobody was saying that the court was “biased” but these persons, are facing the charge of life or death and hence such remarks may cause harm to them.