In India, the death sentence is only awarded in the case which is very infrequent or very order in nature. The death sentence is awarded only by following the due process of law by the Supreme Court. Here the Extra-Judicial means the implementation of an act done by the state. This is done by taking action which is outside the scope of due process of law. Encounter killings are considered as Extra-Judicial killings that are executed by police for armed forces when they run into supposed criminals or reckon gangsters.
Encounter killings are gaining mass support of people because they feel so exhausted with the long delay that is so common in our judicial system to dispense justice. Frequently the culprit roams free because he is not convicted due to the lack of evidence. Hence, the majority of people consider Encounter killings as a way of giving speedy justice.
The state has tried its best to follow or govern the state through “rule by law” and opposed “rule of law”. In rule of law, the police play the role of the investigator as well as of a judge. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal are the States which report frequent Encounter killings. Uttar Pradesh and Manipur or two states which are infamous for its Extra-Judicial killings.
Grounds where Extra-Judicial killings do not constitute an offence
When the death of a person is caused in the exercise of the Right of Private Defence.
When it is particularly stated to arrest an accused person of a punishable offence with death or imprisonment of life. Section 46 of the CrPC, authorises police to use force. This can extend up to causing the death of the accused person.
Extra-Judicial killings for Self Defence VS Extra-Judicial killings for retaliation
It is necessary to draw a thin line between Private Defence for Right of Self Defence and the use of the exercise of force to retaliate. It should be made clear that the private defence is a right that should be used to defend oneself and not to retaliate with more force. There are many instances where it is discovered that the encounter done by the police is sometimes pre-planned. There are many cases wherein the top authorities were pre-informed and with their full consent, the encounter takes place. This tells us that these acts of police are not exercised or come under the category of self-defence or retaliation, but it is considered as a pre-planned murder.
The most Famous and Recent Encounter Killings that was there in the News headline
Dr Disha, a woman Veterinarian who was raped in Hyderabad by four accused men and later they murdered her. These four accused were shot dead in the exchange of fire with the Hyderabad Police. Some reports claim that the Hyderabad Police was trying to reconstruct the crime scene. However, the accused tried to escape, snatching police officers gun. This made the police to start a fire after all the due warning and at last, all four accused died on the crime scene.
Supreme Court of India on Encounter Killings
A bench of Judge constituted by Chief Justice RM Lodha and Justice Rohinton F Nariman in 2014, presented sixteen point guideline in instances where the death or grievous injury is caused to a person. The Supreme Court of India also stated that all the killings by police must be recorded and looked into by an independent agency without involving police unit in the case.
Some people think that if the person killed was innocent. People feel insecure to think that what if authority start misusing their power. In society, Extra-Judicial killings are still not acceptable until it is done in accordance with the Right of Defence. It is believed that the fundamental premise of Human Rights even of criminals are to be secured. Hence for it, the Rule of Law should be given superiority that the Rule of Gun. Right now the most important thing to do is to improvise the Judiciary system so that the faith of people in Judiciary can be reborn and remain stable.
Riya Agarwal | Amity Law School, Lucknow