Telangana Encounter: Supreme Court specifies terms of reference for Inquiry Commission probing case
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Telangana Encounter: Supreme Court specifies terms of reference for Inquiry Commission probing case

Meera Emmanuel

The Supreme Court recently specified the terms of reference of the Inquiry Commission constituted to probe the Telangana Encounter of December 6, 2019.

The Court had appointed former Supreme Court Judge, Justice VS Sirpurkar (Retd.) to head the Commission as its Chairman.

The Commission will also comprise ormer Bombay High Court judge, Justice RP Sondurbaldota and former Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, DR Karthikeyan as its members. The Commission shall have all the powers under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, the Apex. Court hadspecified.

"Keeping in view all the peculiarities of the case, it is desirable and necessary to know the truth relating to the incident…We are, therefore, of the considered view that an Inquiry Commission needs to be constituted for inquiring into the circumstances in which the four accused persons... were killed in Hyderabad on 6th December 2019."

Supreme Court (order dated December 12, 2019)

While passing the order, the Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna had also clarified that no Court or authority shall inquire into the matter until further orders of the Supreme Court.

"It is made clear that no other Court or authority shall inquire into this matter pending the Commission of Inquiry constituted hereinabove until further orders of this Court. However, the orders passed by the High Court pertaining to the preservation of the dead body of the four accused persons shall continue until further orders of this Court."

Supreme Court

Earlier, the Telangana High Court and the NHRC had intervened in the issue.

The terms of reference of the Inquiry Commission were specified last week on January 10. These are as follows:

  • To inquire into the alleged incident resulting in the death of four persons on 6th December, 2019 in Hyderabad, namely, Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jolu Shiva and Jollu Naveen, who were arrested in connection with the rape and murder of a young veterinary lady doctor, while they were in the custody of police.

  • To inquire into the circumstances that led to the death of afore-mentioned four persons and to ascertain as to whether any offence appears to have been committed in the course. If yes, to fix the responsibility of erring officials.

  • The Chairman of the aforesaid Inquiry Commission will be paid Rs.1,50,000/- (Rupees One Lakh and Fifty Thousand only) per sitting and the Members of the Commission will be paid Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lakh only) per sitting. The other directions regarding facilities to be provided to the Chairman and the Members of the Inquiry Commission will be in terms of this Court’s order dated 12.12.2019

As per the Supreme Court's December 12 order, the Commission is expected to furnish a report within six months.

Whether media should be barred from reporting on Commission proceedings? Notice issued to PTI, PCI

The Court is also expected to take a call on whether the media should be barred from reporting on the Commission or its proceedings, following a submission to that effect by Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi during a hearing last month. The Bench observed that "it would be appropriate to hear the Media before passing any order in this regard."

Therefore, the Court last month issued notice to the Press Trust of India and the Press Council of India, who is to represent the electronic and print media in the country.

As per the order passed last week, the matter has been scheduled to be heard next in two weeks' time.

The orders were passed in two PILs moved against the Telangana Police Encounter, one by advocates GS Mani and Pradeep Kumar Yadav and the other by advocate ML Sharma. Both PILs have registered an objection to the extra-judicial killing of the four accused in the Telangana rape and murder case in the when the guilt of the accused was yet to be proved.

[Read the orders]

Supreme Court Order - Telangana Encounter - January 10, 2019.pdf
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Supreme Court Order - Telangana Encounter - Dec 12, 2019.pdf
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