"Since 2018 daily monitoring of all police actions, encounter killings started": UP govt tells SC

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The Uttar Pradesh government maintained that the state continuously monitors all police action and takes immediate remedial/ corrective steps if necessary

The Uttar Pradesh police have told the Supreme Court that since 2018, it has started seeking district-wise daily progress reports at DGP headquarters in all cases of police actions, including number of accused arrested, injured and killed.

In a detailed status report as per instruction issued by the top court in a PIL filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari, the state government asserted that after the passing of the PUCL Guidelines, the DGP, UP issued a Circular on August 01, 2017, for strict compliance of the directions issued therein.

"Further, the State has issued directions on March 09, 2018 that Daily Progress Reports of police actions (including numbers of accused arrested, injured and killed in police action) are to be submitted to the DGP Headquarters district-wise," it said.
"There is regular monitoring of police self-defence action in which accused persons have died. In all the police encounter incidents that have taken place since 2017, details related to the killed criminals and the results of the investigation/enquiry are collected and scrutinized every month at the police Headquarters level," it added.

The Uttar Pradesh government maintained that the state continuously monitors all police action and takes immediate remedial/ corrective steps if necessary.

Regarding the legal disposal of the investigation of the cases registered in connection with police encounter incidents and the disposal of the magisterial inquiry, proper monitoring is ensured from time to time by issuing appropriate instructions to the concerned Zonal Additional Director General of Police and Police Commissioner at the Police Headquarters level, it said.

"Requests have also been made to the Uttar Pradesh Government by the Headquarters level from time to time regarding speedy disposal of magisterial enquiries into incidents of death in police encounter," it said.

The state government also said that regular review is done at the police headquarters level after receiving information from all zones/Commissionerates regarding investigation/magisterial enquiries of cases registered in relation to criminals killed in the actions taken by police in self-defense and ongoing enquiries by the National Human Rights Commission. 

"Further, the Office of State Crime Records Bureau, Uttar Pradesh Lucknow, while monitoring the incidents related to deaths in police encounters, sends information about all the incidents to the National Human Rights Commission every six months," it said.

The state government also maintained that it has also complied with the recommendations made in the  Justice BS Chauhan report, prepared after the encounter of gangster Vikas Dubey on July 10, 2020.

The UP government also informed the top court that in the aftermath of the deaths of former MP and gangster Atiq Ahmad’s gang members, the State has constituted two Commissions of Inquiry viz, a two-member Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice (Retd) Rajeev Lochan Mehrotra, former judge, High Court, Allahabad, to inquire into the deaths that occurred in police encounters on February 27, 2023, March 06, 2023 and April 13, 2023.

Besides, a five-member Commission of Inquiry headed by former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, Justice (Retd) Dilip Babasaheb Bhonsle, has been formed to inquire into the murders of Atiq Ahmad and his brother former MLA Ashraf on April 15, 2023, the government informed. 

The work of the Mehrotra Commission is thus proceeding and is expected to be completed soon, the report stated. 

The term of the Bhonsle Commission, which was previously extended by three months, has further been extended by another two months on September 23, 2023, it added.

As per the report, the Commission is also examining reference, i.e. prevention of such incidents in the future. To this end, it has invited suggestions from the public, media, government and other organisations, including universities and other educational institutions. It has also sought the views of the Press Council of India and the TRAI in this regard, which are still awaited.

The Commission’s in-depth inquiry is underway and the members are next scheduled to meet on October 08, 2023, the report mentioned. 

On August 11, a bench led by Justice S Ravindra Bhat had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file a comprehensive affidavit on the progress of investigation in 183 encounters in the state since 2017, saying that it was necessary to inspire confidence in its action.

It had also issued notice on a plea by Meerut-based Aisha Noori, sister of gangster-politician Ahmad, seeking a direction for detailed probe into killings of the former MP, his ex MLA brother Mohd Ashraf and others, including Atiq's son, allegedly due to vendetta.

Former Phulpur MP Atiq and his ex-MLA brother were killed in police custody on April 15 in full media glare. Three assailants, disguised as media persons shot dead the two brothers from point-blank range when the duo was being taken to a hospital in Prayagraj for medical check up.

Atiq’s son Asad was also shot dead by a special task force (STF) team during an encounter in Jhansi on April 13.

The gangster and his family have come under police scanner after his son and associates were caught on CCTV camera shooting down two policemen, namely Sandeep Nishad and Raghvendra Singh, while targetting advocate Umesh Pal, a witness in BSP MLA Raju murder case on February 25, 2023.