Friday, May 24, 2024

SC dismisses plea for probe into extra-judicial killings of Chhattisgarh villagers

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking an independent probe into alleged extra-judicial killing of villagers in Chhattisgarh during an anti-Naxal operation in the state in 2009.

The Central government had not only opposed the plea but had also filed an application seeking perjury proceedings against the petitioners for depicting the executions carried out by Naxals as done by Security forces. 

The top court imposed an exemplary cost of Rs five lakh on the petitioner and social activist Himanshu Kumar. SC has directed to deposit the penalty within four weeks before the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee.

A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and JB Pardiwala delivered the judgment and left it to the State of Chattisgarh to act on the application filed by the Central Government seeking prosecution against the petitioners for the offence of making false charges under Section 211 of the Indian Penal Code. 

As regards the Centre’s plea to initiate perjury proceedings against the petitioner, the Court said that it would not proceed with that.

Solicitor General (SG) of India, Tushar Mehta requested that a probe by a central agency be allowed, saying that the conspiracy may have “inter-state ramifications”. Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, had submitted that there should be an independent investigation by CBI/NIA.

While criticizing the decision, Gautam Bhatia, a constitutional lawyer tweeted: “Second time in two weeks that the SC has gone after a petitioner for daring to file a case against State impunity, and passed hints about how they should be prosecuted for it. Same judge. Definitely a great exhibition of an independent judiciary at work.”

“Henceforth, part of the legal advice to someone looking to file an Article 32 petition in the SC for the enforcement of fundamental rights will be ‘you might get arrested for it,” he added.

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