“Main Vikas Dubey hoon Kanpur wala” A headline which surpassed all over the news channels for quite a long time until he was encountered by UP police officers. A prominent name Vikas Dubey, history-sheeter, a gangster turned politician. Over more than 60 criminal cases registered against him. Encountered while he was in police custody returning to Kanpur from Ujjain charged in a case where he brutally murdered 8 policemen who had gone to raid at his place in a village near Kanpur.
This incident shook the country, especially the UP police. But the question which needs to be addressed is, is it possible for a common man to kill 8 cops without any prior support from the police department? Can police officers take away someone’s life? Can Judiciary not suffice the punishment of such criminals?
Police encounter or extrajudicial killing is described as the killing of suspected criminals outside the judicial process by the policeman in self-defence.
The story of officers as they contended that Vikas Dubey attempted to flee from the custody by snatching the pistol and firing at the officers and, they had to fire at him in self-defence is not less than a Bollywood drama. They were just trying to justify their pre-planned killing.
Police encounters violate Right to Life, Rule of Law, and Human Rights. The Constitution of India enacted various provisions to protect the rights of the arrested person under article 22 and 23. Article 21, right to life No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except procedure established by law. The only procedure established by law to kill any person is Capital punishment or death sentence by judiciary given in rarest of rare cases. Police are here to maintain law and order peace in the society; having no authority derived from any statute to kill any person may it be a gangster. Police authorities have to function within the ambit of the constitution of India, the supreme law of the law.
In Peoples Union for Civil Liberties v. the State of Maharashtra (2014) Supreme Court observed that this “encounter” philosophy is a criminal philosophy, had warned policemen that they would not be excused for murdering in the name of “encounter” on the pretext that they were carrying out the orders of their superior officers or politicians and laid down various guidelines to be followed in case investigation of a police encounter.
The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act of 2005 mandates that a judicial inquiry must take place in all instances where any person dies or disappears while in the custody of the police or any other custody.
NHRC guidelines lay down by Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah in March 1997 stated, Police cannot take away someone’s life except in Private Defense and as per Section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure authorizes the police to use force, extending up to the causing of death, as may be necessary to arrest the person accused of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life.
According to NHRC in 2002-2008, there were as many as 440 fake encounter cases, and nearly half of them are from Uttar Pradesh. What is the need to go for such encounters? Here the role of the judiciary comes into existence. In India, Judiciary is overloaded over 30 million cases are pending; each trial is a very long and drawn-out process. There is a famous saying justice delay is justice denied, goes very well with such cases. If by any chance, justice is served subsequently, the criminal is put behind the bars. Certainly, there lies no assertion that he won’t commit any further crimes. A case registered against Vikas Dubey claimed that he murdered a person while in jail. A criminal with such severity shall be treated with the retributive theory of punishment, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth…’
A man who is of such a barbaric nature is a politician, has also contested in the election. He had money, power, protection why will he rot in jail? In our country there requires no qualification to be a politician due to this lacuna any person can be a politician. With the help of such power and corruption, they commit a heinous crime and get acquainted.
As quoted by Nelson Mandela, “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity”, fake encounters by police in the name of private defense cannot be justified. Perhaps, the present situation is judiciary is not sufficient enough to punish such criminals we need to take more concrete steps to combat such criminals. Our constitution was enacted with a motive of welfare society but these laws turn out to befriend criminals.