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The Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said that the Commission shall start functioning within one week. A report is to be submitted within two months.
The Supreme Court today gave the green signal for an Inquiry Commission headed by former Apex Court judge, Justice BS Chauhan to investigate the encounter killing of gangster Vikas Dubey (Anoop Prakash Awasthi v. State of Uttar Pradesh & ors).
A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said that the Inquiry Commission shall start functioning within one week. A report is to be submitted within two months.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta suggested to the Court that former DGP KL Gupta be appointed as the retired police officer on the panel. Mehta said that all background checks for Gupta had been conducted, and that he was found to be suitable.
While reading out the draft notification to constitute the Commission, SG Mehta told the Court that the proposed terms of reference include a probe into the bail granted to Dubey, and how he was enlarged on bail despite facing over 60 cases. In response, the Court observed,
Justice BS Chauhan was then proposed as head of the Commission. This recommendation was agreed upon by all parties, with CJI SA Bobde expressing confidence in Justice Chauhan's proposed role.
Petitioner Ghanshyam Upadhyay made a request for the Commission to be based out of Delhi, submitting that the Uttar Pradesh government ought not have any participation in the probe. However, this request was rejected by the Court.
The other petitioner, Anoop Awasthi, argued that the orders for Dubey's killing had come directly from the office of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Thus, the role played by the CMO must also be looked into, Awasthi urged. The Court said that the Commission will look into all the aspects of the probe.
Senior Advocates Salman Khurshid and Sanjay Parikh then highlighted the larger issue of the increasing number of encounters in the state of UP.
While Solicitor General Mehta said that the investigation will be carried out by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) itself, Advocate Aparna Bhat pointed out that the terms of reference for the SIT have not been defined.
Parikh highlighted that the SIT in question was formed to look into the gruesome killing of police officials by Dubey and his aides. The SIT was not formed to probe the encounter killing of Dubey subsequently. To this, the Court responded,
The Court ultimately approved the setting up of the Commission headed by Justice Chauhan and said that the report must be submitted within two months from the date of its constitution.