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SC to hear petition to decide if Hyderabad encounter of 4 rape accused was legal

The Supreme Court will be hearing a PIL moved by petitioner GS Mani against the alleged "illegal" encounter in Hyderabad in which Telangana Police gunned down 4 rape-murder accused who killed the veterinarian last month.

The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday a Public Interest Litigation which seeks independent probe into the alleged encounter killings of the four men accused of rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad.

The petitioner, Advocate G S Mani, mentioned the petition before the Chief Justice of India S A Bobde on Monday for urgent hearing.

CJI said that the Telangana High Court is already seized of the matter. Saying that the Court will look into what was being examined by the HC, the CJI agreed for a listing on Wednesday.

The petition seeks directions for an investigation, the registration of an FIR and subsequent action against the police personnel who killed the four people accused of the rape and murder of the Veterinarian doctor in Hyderabad in an alleged encounter.

The petitioners, GS Mani and Pradeep Kumar Yadav, have placed great reliance on the PUCL case and cited it to urge the court that, in light of Article 21 guaranteeing everyone a right to lead a dignified life, even the State does not have the power to violate it.

As per police version, all four accused – namely Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen – were taken to the scene of the crime around 60 Km from Hyderabad at about 3 AM on December 6 for a re-construction of crime scene. Reportedly, one of them signaled to the others, possibly to escape and they tried to snatch weapons from the police personnel when the police fired on them and they died allegedly in cross firing.

The petitioners alleged that it was an encounter staged to divert the public reactions against lapses on the part of the police which led to the gang rape and murder of the woman on November 28. The petitioners stated that the police had refused to take immediate action when the woman’s family complained about her missing and even told them that their daughter might have eloped with someone.

According to the petitioners, the body language of V C Sajjanar IPS during the press conference suggested that he had no regrets over the killing. The public are feting the police officials with garlands and sweets for the encounter. If such activities are allowed, there will be no meaning for rule of law, the petitioners stated.

“Since there is a chance of tampering evidences and destroying the material documents and evidences by the concerned police officers who are in high level, this Hon’ble Court may be hear this PIL writ petition on an urgent basis and pass an appropriate order accordingly in the interest of justice”, urged the petitioners.

The Telangana High Court has taken cognizance of the encounter based on a representation received by the office of the Chief Justice. The Court has directed vide recording of the post-mortem proceedings, and has asked the State Government to preserve the dead bodies till Monday.

The National Human Rights Commission has also taken suo moto cognizance of the killings and has ordered spot inquiry.

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