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POLICE ENCOUNTERS & IN GRIEVOUS HURTS TOO- PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED – FIR SHOULD BE REGISTERED – INVESTIGATION SHOULD BE CONDUCTED – APEX COURT FIXED PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED , FAILING WHICH , THE AGGRIEVED PARTY CAN FILE A COMPLAINT BEFORE THE SESSIONS COURT HAVING JURISDICTION =CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1255 OF 1999 People’s Union for Civil Liberties & Anr. … Appellants Versus State of Maharashtra & Ors. … Respondents= 2014 – Sept.Month -://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgs1.aspx?filename=41970

POLICE ENCOUNTERS & IN GRIEVOUS HURTS TOO – PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED –  FIR SHOULD BE REGISTERED – INVESTIGATION SHOULD BE CONDUCTED – APEX COURT FIXED PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED , FAILING WHICH , THE AGGRIEVED PARTY CAN FILE A COMPLAINT BEFORE THE SESSIONS COURT HAVING JURISDICTION =

the question of

the procedure to be followed in investigating police encounters.=

Apex court framed the following guidelines to be followed=

we

think it appropriate to issue the following requirements to be followed in the

matters of investigating police encounters in the cases of death as the

standard procedure for thorough, effective and independent investigation:

(1) Whenever the police is in receipt of any intelligence or tip-off

regarding criminal movements or activities pertaining to the

commission of grave criminal offence, it shall be reduced into writing

in some form (preferably into case diary) or in some electronic form.

Such recording need not reveal details of the suspect or the location

to which the party is headed. If such intelligence or tip-off is

received by a higher authority, the same may be noted in some form

without revealing details of the suspect or the location.

(2) If pursuant to the tip-off or receipt of any intelligence, as

above, encounter takes place and firearm is used by the police party

and as a result of that, death occurs, an FIR to that effect shall be

registered and the same shall be forwarded to the court under

Section 157 of the Code without any delay. While forwarding the

report under Section 157 of the Code, the procedure prescribed

under Section 158 of the Code shall be followed.

(3) An independent investigation into the incident/encounter shall

be conducted by the CID or police team of another police station

under the supervision of a senior officer (at least a level above the

head of the police party engaged in the encounter). The team

conducting inquiry/investigation shall, at a minimum, seek:

(a) To identify the victim; colour photographs of the victim

should be taken; 

(b) To recover and preserve evidentiary material, including

blood-stained earth, hair, fibers and threads, etc., related to the

death;

(c) To identify scene witnesses with complete names,

addresses and telephone numbers and obtain their statements

(including the statements of police personnel involved) concerning

the death;

 (d) To determine the cause, manner, location (including

preparation of rough sketch of topography of the scene and, if

possible, photo/video of the scene and any physical evidence) and

time of death as well as any pattern or practice that may have

brought about the death;

(e) It must be ensured that intact fingerprints of deceased

are sent for chemical analysis. Any other fingerprints should be

located, developed, lifted and sent for chemical analysis;

(f) Post-mortem must be conducted by two doctors in the

District Hospital,one of them, as far as possible, should be Incharge/Head of the District Hospital.Post-mortem shall be video graphed and preserved; 

(g) Any evidence of weapons, such as guns, projectiles,

bullets and cartridge cases, should be taken and preserved.

Wherever applicable, tests for gunshot residue and trace metal

detection should be performed.

(h) The cause of death should be found out, whether it was

natural death, accidental death, suicide or homicide.

 

(4) A Magisterial inquiry under Section 176 of the Code must

invariably be held in all cases of death which occur in the course of

police firing and a report thereof must be sent to Judicial Magistrate

having jurisdiction under Section 190 of the Code.

(5) The involvement of NHRC is not necessary unless there is

serious doubt about independent and impartial investigation.

However, the information of the incident without any delay must be

sent to NHRC or the State Human Rights Commission, as the case

may be. 

(6) The injured criminal/victim should be provided medical aid and

his/her statement recorded by the Magistrate or Medical Officer with

certificate of fitness.

(7) It should be ensured that there is no delay in sending FIR,

diary entries, panchnamas, sketch, etc., to the concerned Court.

(8) After full investigation into the incident, the report should be

sent to the competent court under Section 173 of the Code. The trial,

pursuant to the chargesheet submitted by the Investigating Officer,

must be concluded expeditiously.

(9) In the event of death, the next of kin of the alleged

criminal/victim must be informed at the earliest. 

(10) Six monthly statements of all cases where deaths have

occurred in police firing must be sent to NHRC by DGPs. It must be

ensured that the six monthly statements reach to NHRC by 15th day

of January and July, respectively.

The statements may be sent in the

following format along with post mortem, inquest and, wherever

available, the inquiry reports:

(i) Date and place of occurrence.

(ii) Police Station, District.

(iii) Circumstances leading to deaths:

(a) Self defence in encounter.

(b) In the course of dispersal of unlawful

assembly.

(c) In the course of affecting arrest.

(iv) Brief facts of the incident.

(v) Criminal Case No.

(vi) Investigating Agency.

(vii) Findings of the Magisterial Inquiry/Inquiry by

Senior Officers:

(a) disclosing, in particular, names and

designation of police officials, if found responsible

for the death; and

(b) whether use of force was justified and action

taken was lawful.

(11) If on the conclusion of investigation the materials/evidence

having come on record show that death had occurred by use of

firearm amounting to offence under the IPC, disciplinary action

against such officer must be promptly initiated and he be placed

under suspension.

(12) As regards compensation to be granted to the dependants of

the victim who suffered death in a police encounter, the scheme

provided under Section 357-A of the Code must be applied.

(13) The police officer(s) concerned must surrender his/her

weapons for forensic and ballistic analysis, including any other

material, as required by the investigating team, subject to the rights

under Article 20 of the Constitution.

(14) An intimation about the incident must also be sent to the

police officer’s family and should the family need services of a

lawyer / counselling, same must be offered.

(15) No out-of-turn promotion or instant gallantry rewards shall be

bestowed on the concerned officers soon after the occurrence. It

must be ensured at all costs that such rewards are given/recommended only when the gallantry of the concerned officers is established beyond doubt.

(16) If the family of the victim finds that the above procedure has

not been followed or there exists a pattern of abuse or lack of

independent investigation or impartiality by any of the functionaries

as above mentioned, it may make a complaint to the Sessions

Judge having territorial jurisdiction over the place of incident. Upon

such complaint being made, the concerned Sessions Judge shall

look into the merits of the complaint and address the grievances

raised therein.

The above guidelines will also be applicable to grievous injury

cases in police encounter, as far as possible.

Accordingly, we direct that the above requirements / norms

must be strictly observed in all cases of death and grievous injury in police

encounters by treating them as law declared under Article 141 of the

Constitution of India.

2014 – Sept.Month -://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgs1.aspx?filename=41970

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1255 OF 1999

People’s Union for Civil Liberties & Anr. … Appellants

Versus

State of Maharashtra & Ors. … Respondents

WITH

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1256 OF 1999

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1367 OF 1999

WRIT PETITION (C) NO.316 OF 2008

CONTEMPT PETITION (C) No.47 OF 2011

IN

WRIT PETITION (C) NO.316 OF 2008

TRANSFERRED CASE (C) NO.27 OF 2011

O R D E R

R.M. LODHA, CJI.

1Page 2

On 03.09.2014, the  arguments were heard on the question of

the procedure to be followed in investigating police encounters. The

present order is confined to the above question.

2. In the three writ petitions, which were filed by People’s Union

for Civil Liberties (for short, “PUCL”) before the Bombay High Court, the

issue of genuineness or otherwise of nearly 99 encounters between the

Mumbai police and the alleged criminals resulting in death of about 135

persons between 1995 and 1997 was raised. Inter alia, the following

prayers were made:

i) directing the Respondent Nos. 1 to 3 to furnish the

particulars regarding the number of persons killed in last one

year in police encounters, their names, addresses, the

circumstances in which they were killed, the inquiries, if any,

conducted with respect to the said killings and any other

relevant information and the action taken, if any, by them;

ii) directing the respondent No. 1 i.e. State of

Maharashtra to register offence under Section 302 of Indian

Penal Code and other enactments against the police officers

found prima-facie responsible for the violations of

fundamental rights and other provisions of the Indian Penal

Code and other relevant enactments;

iii) directing the 4th respondent viz., the Coroner of

Mumbai to submit a detailed report and the details of action

taken by him under the provisions of the Coroners Act 1871;

iv) directing an appropriate authority to enquire into and

report to this Court in all the police encounters that have

taken place not only in the city of Mumbai but also in the

entire State of Maharashtra in which persons have been

killed or injured in police encounters;

v) directing the State of Maharashtra to constitute the

Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission as provided

under Section 21 and other provisions contained in the

Human Rights Act 1993,

vi) directing the State Government to frame appropriate

guidelines governing planning and carrying out encounters

for the purpose of protection of life and liberty guaranteed

under Article 21 read with Article 14 of the Constitution of

India.

3. It is not necessary to notice the facts of the three writ petitions

in detail. Suffice it to say that while considering the above prayers, the

High Court directed the following guidelines to be followed necessarily and

mandatorily by the police in the State:

1. Whenever the respondents-police are on the receipt

of intelligence or a tip off about the criminal movements and

activities pertaining to the commission of grave crimes, it

shall be entered into a case diary. If the receiving authority is

the police officer of a particular police station, the relevant

entry has to be made in the General diary and if the

receiving authority is the higher police officer, the relevant

entry to the said effect has to be made by a separate diary

kept and provided therefor and then pursue further in

accordance with the procedural law.

2. Regarding any encounter operation is over and

persons are killed or injured and the same is reported to

either orally or writing to the police in furtherance of Section

154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, it shall be registered in

Crime Register of that particular police station and that

further the said First Information Report along with copies to

the higher officials and the Court in original shall be sent with

immediately without any delay whatsoever through proper

channel so as to reach to the Court without any delay at all.

A report, as enjoined under Section 157(1) of the Criminal

Procedure Code, shall also be followed necessarily by the

concerned police station.

3. After setting the law in motion by registering the First

Information Report in the Crime Register by the concerned

police officer of the particular police station, the investigating

3Page 4

staff of the police shall take such  steps by deputing the man

or men to get the scene of crime guarded so as to avoid or

obliterate or disfigure the existing physical features of the

scene of occurrence or the operation encounter. This

guarding of the scene of occurrence shall continue till the

inspection of occurrence takes place by the investigating

staff of the police and preparation of spot panchnama and

the recovery panchnama.

4. The police officer who takes part in the operation

encounter or the investigating officer of the concerned police

station, shall take all necessary efforts and arrangements to

preserve finger prints of the criminals or the dreaded

gangster of the weapons who handled immediately after the

said criminal was brought down to the ground and

incapacitated and that the said fingerprints, if properly taken

and preserved, must be sent to the Chemical Analyzer for

comparison of the fingerprints of the dead body to be taken.

5. The materials which are found on the scene of

occurrence or the operation encounter and such of the

materials including the blood stained earth and blood stained

materials and the sample earth and other moveable physical

features, shall also be recovered by the investigating staff

under the cover of recovery panchnama attested by the

independent witnesses.

6. To fix the exact date and actual place of occurrence in

which operation encounter has taken place, a rough sketch

regarding the topography of the existing physical features of

the said place shall be drawn by the police or the

investigating staff of the police either by themselves or by

the help of the staff of the Survey Department even during

the spot panchnama is prepared.

7. The inquest examination shall be conducted by the

investigating staff of the police on the spot itself without any

delay and statements of the inquest witnesses are to be

recorded under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal

Procedure and the inquest panchnama shall be sent along

with the above case record prepared along with the First

Information Report without any delay whatsoever to the

Court.

8. If the injured criminals during the operation encounter

are found alive, not only that they should be provided

medical aid immediately but also arrangements and attempts

shall be taken by the police to record their statements under

Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code either by a

Magistrate, if possible and if not, by the Medical Officer

concerned duly attested by the hospital staff mentioning the

time and factum that while recording such statements the

injured were in a state of position that they will be able to

give statements and the connected certificates by the

doctors appended thereto.

9. After the examination of further witnesses and

completing the investigation inclusive of securing the

accused or accused persons, the concerned police is

directed to send final report to the Court of competent

jurisdiction as required under Section 173 of the Criminal

Procedure Code for further proceeding.

10. Either in sending the First Information Report or

sending with the general diary entry referred in the guideline

nos. 1 and 2, the concerned police shall avoid any iota of

delay under any circumstances whatsoever so also rough

sketch showing the topography of the scene and the

recovery of the materials and the blood stained materials

with the sample earth and the blood stained earth with the

other documents viz, the spot panchnama, recovery

panchnama – all seems very vital documents – the

respondents-police are also directed to send them to the

Court of concerned jurisdiction without any delay.

4. PUCL was not satisfied with the adequacy of the reliefs

granted by the High Court and, consequently, it filed three SLPs against

the judgment and order dated 22-25.02.1999. Few other matters have

been connected with these three petitions.

5. After initial grant of leave, the matters came up for

consideration before the two-Judge Bench on 05.11.2008. On that day,

Mr. Prashant Bhushan, learned counsel appearing for the appellants

placed before the Court the guidelines issued by the National Human

5

Rights Commission (for short, “NHRC”) and also his own suggestions.

Looking at the gravity of the matter, the Court on that day directed

issuance of notice to the Union of India, States and Union Territories for

consideration of issuance of final directions / guidelines in the matter by

this Court. After the notice was issued, the Union of India, States and

Union Territories, have filed their affidavits.

6. On 28.08.2014, having regard to the importance of the matter,

we appointed Mr. Gopal Sankaranarayanan as amicus curiae to assist the

Court in the matter. Mr. Sankaranarayanan, learned counsel, after

thorough research and study, placed before us his written submissions

including the suggestions / guidelines.

7. Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees “right to live

with human dignity”. Any violation of human rights is viewed seriously by

this Court as right to life is the most precious right guaranteed by Article 21

of the Constitution. The guarantee by Article 21 is available to every

person and even the State has no authority to violate that right.

8. In D.K. Basu1

, this Court was concerned with custodial

violence and deaths in police lockups. While framing the requirements to

be followed in all cases of arrest or detention till legal provisions are made

in that behalf, this Court issued certain directives as preventive measures.

1

D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal; [(1997) 1 SCC 416]

6

While doing so, the Court in para 29 (page 433 of the Report) made the

following weighty observations:

29. How do we check the abuse of police power?

Transparency of action and accountability perhaps are two

possible safeguards which this Court must insist upon.

Attention is also required to be paid to properly develop work

culture, training and orientation of the police force consistent

with basic human values. Training methodology of the police

needs restructuring. The force needs to be infused with

basic human values and made sensitive to the constitutional

ethos. Efforts must be made to change the attitude and

approach of the police personnel handling investigations so

that they do not sacrifice basic human values during

interrogation and do not resort to questionable forms of

interrogation. With a view to bring in transparency, the

presence of the counsel of the arrestee at some point of time

during the interrogation may deter the police from using

third-degree methods during interrogation.

9. The observations made by this Court in Om Prakash2

(para

42, page 95 of the Report) are worth noticing:

42. It is not the duty of the police officers to kill the accused

merely because he is a dreaded criminal. Undoubtedly, the

police have to arrest the accused and put them up for trial.

This Court has repeatedly admonished trigger-happy police

personnel, who liquidate criminals and project the incident as

an encounter. Such killings must be deprecated. They are

not recognised as legal by our criminal justice administration

system. They amount to State-sponsored terrorism. But, one

cannot be oblivious of the fact that there are cases where

the police, who are performing their duty, are attacked and

killed. There is a rise in such incidents and judicial notice

must be taken of this fact. In such circumstances, while the

police have to do their legal duty of arresting the criminals,

they have also to protect themselves. The requirement of

sanction to prosecute affords protection to the policemen,

who are sometimes required to take drastic action against

2

Om Prakash and Ors. v. State of Jharkhand through the Secretary, Department of Home, Ranchi-1 and

Anr.; [(2012) 12 SCC 72]

7

criminals to protect life and property of the people and to

protect themselves against attack. Unless unimpeachable

evidence is on record to establish that their action is

indefensible, mala fide and vindictive, they cannot be

subjected to prosecution. Sanction must be a precondition to

their prosecution. It affords necessary protection to such

police personnel. The plea regarding sanction can be raised

at the inception.

10. The statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau, 2013 are

worth noticing. Table 14.2 under the title “Persons Killed Or Injured in

Police Firing During 2013 (Event-Wise)” shows that there were 684

occasions of police firing classified as “Riot Control”, “Anti-Dacoity

Operations”, “Against Extremists and Terrorists” and “Against Others” in

2013 and, in these police firings, 103 civilians were killed and 213 were

injured and, as regards policemen, 47 were killed and 1158 were injured.

10.1 Table 15.1 gives details of police personnel killed across the

country in 2013 in terrorist/extremists operations, dacoity operations or

other raids by riotous mobs and by other criminals.

10.2 Table 16.1 catalogues the complaints/cases registered against

police personnel during 2013. During the year 2013, 51120 complaints

were received, of which 26640 were declared false or unsubstantiated. Of

the rest, 14928 were dealt departmentally Of this, 3896 were reported for

regular departmental action while 799 were sent up for trials.charge sheeted.

In the completed trials, 53 were convicted. In departmental

8Page 9

proceedings, 544 were dismissed from service and 3980 had been

awarded major punishment.

10.3 Incidence of human rights violations by police during 2013 is

indicated in Table 16.2. This Table lists only two fake encounters (both

from Assam). The figure raises doubts about its correctness.

11. In some of the countries when a police firearms officer is

involved in a shooting, there are strict guidelines and procedures in place

to ensure that what has happened is thoroughly investigated. In India,

unfortunately, such structured guidelines and procedures are not in place

where police is involved in shooting and death of the subject occurs in

such shooting. We are of the opinion that it is the constitutional duty of this

Court to put in place certain guidelines adherence to which would help in

bringing to justice the perpetrators of the crime who take law in their own

hands.

12. Mr. Prashant Bhushan, learned counsel for PUCL has

suggested the following guidelines:

Whenever the police are in receipt of any intelligence or tip

off regarding criminal movements or activities pertaining to

the commission of grave criminal offences, it shall be

entered into a case diary. If the receiving authority is the

police officer of a particular police station, the relevant entry

must be made in the general diary and if the receiving

authority is a police officer of higher rank, the relevant entry

must be made in a separate diary kept and provided therefor

9

and then be pursued further in accordance with the

procedural law.

A dedicated investigative team / separate cadre of police be

formed/established which shall be attached to the

NHRC/SHRC to investigate encounters and other matters of

which NHRC/SHRC is seized. Till the time such dedicated

team/police cadre is established, it is mandatory that the

matters relating to encounter deaths/injuries are handed

over for investigation to an independent investigating agency

such as CBI/SHRC. NHRC/SHRC shall direct as to who will

conduct the investigation.

Whenever a police party is involved in an encounter it shall

immediately inform the NHRC/SHRC and the local police

station of the encounter and shall seal off the premises to

avoid any contamination till such investigative team of the

NHRC/SHRC arrives subject to compliance with the other

guidelines regarding the preservation of fingerprints etc.

When a Police Officer receives any information, either orally

or in writing, in furtherance of section 154 of the Cr.P.C.

regarding death or injuries caused in the course of an

encounter operation between the Police party and others, he

shall enter the information in the Crime Register or any other

appropriate register of that particular police station and shall

immediately send the Report (First Information Report) to the

court without any further delay through a proper channel.

The copies of the said report shall also be sent to the higher

officials including the DGP of the concerned State and

NHRC/SHRC. The DGP must also send his report with

regard to such encounter death to NHRC. The DGP shall

take disciplinary action against the officer-in-charge of the

police station if he/she fails to send the report regarding the

encounter death to NHRC and DGP. A report, as enjoined

under section 157(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, shall

also be followed necessarily by the concerned police station.

The independent investigating team shall take such steps by

deputing the man or men to get the scene of crime guarded

so as to avoid or obliterate or disfigure the existing physical

features of the scene of occurrence or the operation

encounter. This guarding of the scene of occurrence shall

continue till the inspection of occurrence takes place by the

aforesaid independent investigating team and preparation of

spot panchnama and the recovery panchnama.

10

The police officer involved in the encounter operation and

the independent investigating team, shall make all necessary

efforts and arrangements immediately after the said criminal

was brought down to the ground and incapacitated to

preserve finger prints of the criminals or the dreaded

gangster, and those on the weapons handled during the

course of the encounter. The said fingerprints, properly

taken and preserved, must be sent to the Chemical Analyzer

for comparison of the fingerprints of the dead body to be

taken.

The materials which are found on the scene of occurrence or

the operation encounter and such of the materials including

the blood stained earth and blood stained materials and the

sample earth and other moveable physical features, shall

also be recovered by the independent investigating team

under the cover of recovery panchnama attested by

independent witnesses.

To fix the exact date and actual place of occurrence in which

operation encounter has taken place, a rough sketch

regarding the topography of the existing physical features of

the said place shall be drawn by the aforesaid independent

investigating team either by themselves or by the help of the

staff of the Survey Department when the spot panchnama is

prepared.

The inquest examination shall be conducted by aforesaid

independent investigating team on the spot itself without any

delay and statements of the inquest witnesses are to be

recorded under section 161 of the Code of Criminal

Procedure and the inquest Panchnama shall be sent along

with the above case record prepared along with the First

Information Report without any delay whatsoever to the

Court.

A Magisterial Inquiry must invariably be held in all cases of

death which occur in the course of police action. The next of

kin of the deceased must invariably be associated in such

inquiry.

In every case when a complaint is made against the police

alleging commission of a criminal act on their part, which

makes out a cognizable case of culpable homicide, an FIR to

this effect must be registered under appropriate sections of

the I.P.C. Such case shall also be investigated by the

aforesaid investigating team.

11

Prompt prosecution and disciplinary action must be initiated

against all delinquent officers found guilty in the magisterial

enquiry/the said investigation. Prosecution of such

delinquent officers shall be conducted by the investigating

agency. Such delinquent officers must be placed under

suspension.

Question of granting of compensation to the dependents of

the deceased would depend upon the facts and

circumstances of each case and it shall be determined by

NHRC. However, in every case of a person being killed by

the police party in the course of an encounter, the

compensation granted must necessarily be at least the same

as that granted to the dependants of a police officer killed by

terrorists in the course of duty by the Government.

No out-of-turn promotion, cash award or gallantry reward

shall be bestowed on the concerned officers pursuant to

their role in an encounter as this may be an incentive for

officers to conduct encounters.

A six monthly statement of all cases of deaths in police

action in the State shall be sent by the Director General of

Police to the Commission, so as to reach its office by the 15th

day of January and July respectively. The statement may be

sent in the following format along with post-mortem reports

and inquest reports, wherever available and also the inquiry

reports:-

1. Date and place of occurrence.

2. Police Station, District.

3. Circumstances leading to deaths:

i. Self defence in encounter

ii. In the course of dispersal of unlawful assembly

iii. In the course of affecting arrest.

4. Brief facts of the incident

5. Criminal Case No.

6. Investigating Agency

7. Findings of the magisterial Inquiry/enquiry by Senior

Officers:

a. disclosing in particular names and designation of

police officials, if found responsible for the death;

and

b. whether use of force was justified and action taken

was lawful.

12

In order to ascertain the identity of persons killed in Police

encounter, their photographs and other details should be

advertised on T.V., newspapers etc.

With respect to the post mortem conducted after an

encounter it is imperative that such a post mortem is, at the

least, conducted in the District Level Government Hospital in

the presence of at least three qualified doctors of which one

must be a senior doctor. All such post-mortems must also

necessarily be videotaped and copies of such videotapes

preserved.

If the injured criminals during the operation encounter are

found alive, not only that they should be provided medical

aid immediately but also arrangements and attempts shall be

taken by the independent investigative team to record their

statements under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure

Code, either by a Magistrate, if possible and if not, by the

Medical Officer concerned, duly attested by the hospital staff

mentioning the time and factum that while recording such

statements the injured were in a state of position that they

will be able to give statements and the connected certificates

by the doctors appended thereto.

After the examination of further witnesses and completing

the investigation inclusive of securing the accused or

accused persons, the independent investigative team is

directed to send final report to the Court of Competent

jurisdiction as required under Section 173 of the Criminal

Procedure Code for further proceeding.

Either in sending the First Information Report or sending with

the general diary entry referred in the guideline nos. 1 and 2,

the concerned police / independent investigative team, shall

avoid any iota of delay under any circumstances whatsoever

so also rough sketch showing the topography of the scene

and the recovery of materials and the blood stained

materials with the sample earth and the blood stained earth

with the other documents viz, the spot panchnama, recovery

panchnama – all seems very vital documents – the

respondents police are also directed to send them to the

Court of concerned jurisdiction without any delay.

13. The revised guidelines/procedures to be followed in cases of

deaths caused in police action framed by NHRC read as under:

A. When the police officer in change of a police station

receives information about death in an encounter with the

police, he shall enter that information in the appropriate/ register.

B. Where the police officers belonging to the same police station are members of the encounter party, whose

action resulted in death, it is desirable that such cases are

made over for investigation to some other independent

investigation agency, such as State CBCID.

C. Whenever a specific complaint is made against the

police alleging commission of a criminal act on their part,

which makes out a cognizable case of culpable homicide, an

FIR to this effect must be registered under appropriate

sections of the I.P.C. Such case shall be investigated by

State CBCID or any other specialized investigation agency.

D. A magisterial enquiry must be held in all cases of

death which occurs in the course of police action, as

expeditiously as possible, preferably, within three months.

The relatives of the deceased, eye witnesses having

information of the circumstances leading to encounter, police

station records etc. must be examined while conducting such

enquiry.

E. Prompt prosecution and disciplinary action must be

initiated against all delinquent officers found guilty in the

magisterial enquiry/police investigation.

F. No out-of-turn promotion or instant gallantry rewards

shall be bestowed on the concerned officers soon after the

occurrence. It must be ensured at all costs that such rewards

are given/recommended only when the gallantry of the

concerned officer is established beyond doubt.

G. (a) All cases of deaths in police action in the states shall

be reported to the Commission by the Senior Superintendent

of Police/Superintendent of Police of the District within 48

hours of such death in the following format:

 1. Date and place of occurrence

 2. Police station, district

 3. Circumstances leading to death :

(i) Self-defence in encounter

14

(ii) In course of dispersal of unlawful assembly

(iii) In the course of effecting arrest

(iv) Any other circumstances

4. Brief facts of the incident

5. Criminal case No.

6. Investigating agency

(b) A second report must be sent in all cases of death in

police action in the state by the Sr. Superintendent of

Police/Superintendent of Police to the commission within

three months providing following information:

1. Post mortem report

2. Inquest report

3. Findings of the magisterial enquiry/enquiry by

 senior officers disclosing:

(i) Names and designation of police official, if found

 responsible for the death:

(ii) Whether use of force was justified and action

 taken was lawful:

(iii) Result of the forensic examination of ‘handwash’

of the deceased to ascertain the presence of residue

of gun powder to justify exercise of right of self

defence; and

(iv) Report of the Ballistic Expert on examination of

the weapons alleged to have been used by the

deceased and his companions

14. Union of India in its counter affidavit has given its comments to

the guidelines framed by the High Court and so also to the guidelines

suggested by learned counsel for PUCL. Union of India has expressed its

reservation on certain guidelines on diverse counts including the practical

difficulties in their implementation. As regards States and Union Territories,

their views are not uniform on the guidelines framed by the High Court and

also the guidelines suggested by PUCL. In respect of some of the

guidelines, some States and Union Territories have toed the line of Union

15

of India in not accepting the same on the ground of practical difficulties in

their implementation. Few States have highlighted the procedure that is

being followed by them when any death or encounter takes place. As

regards investigation in such cases, some of the States have highlighted

that the investigation of such cases cannot be done by officers /

employees of the same police station and it is ensured that investigation of

such cases is done by some higher officer. On the other hand, few States /

Union Territories have stated that initial investigation may be conducted by

the local police because local police is acquainted with the modus

operandi of local criminals and crime.

15. Before we proceed further, we put on record our appreciation

for the efforts of learned amicus curiae in collating the guidelines framed

by the High Court, guidelines suggested by PUCL and guidelines issued

by NHRC and their acceptability or otherwise by the Union / States / Union

Territories and his own comments.

16. Article 21 of the Constitution provides “no person shall be

deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure

established by law”. This Court has stated time and again that Article 21

confers sacred and cherished right under the Constitution which cannot be

violated, except according to procedure established by law. Article 21

16

guarantees personal liberty to every single person in the country which

includes the right to live with human dignity.

17. In line with the guarantee provided by Article 21 and other

provisions in the Constitution of India, a number of statutory provisions

also seek to protect personal liberty, dignity and basic human rights. In

spite of Constitutional and statutory provisions aimed at safeguarding the

personal liberty and life of a citizen, the cases of death in police

encounters continue to occur. This Court has been confronted with

encounter cases from time to time. In Chaitanya Kalbagh3

, this Court was

concerned with a writ petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution

wherein the impartial investigation was sought for the alleged killing of 299

persons in the police encounters. The Court observed that in the facts and

circumstances presented before it, there was an imperative need of

ensuring that the guardians of law and order do in fact observe the code of

discipline expected of them and that they function strictly as the protectors

of innocent citizens.

18. In R.S. Sodhi4

, a writ petition was brought to this Court under

Article 32 of the Constitution relating to an incident in which 10 persons

were reported to have been killed in what were described as “encounters”

between the Punjab militants and the local police. The Court observed,

3

 Chaitanya Kalbagh and Ors. v. State of U.P. and Ors.; [(1989) 2 SCC 314]

4

 R.S. Sodhi, Advocate v. State of U.P. and Ors.; [ 1994 Supp (1) SCC 143]

17

“Whether the loss of lives was on account of a genuine or a fake encounter

is a matter which has to be inquired into and investigated closely”. The

Court entrusted the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (for

short, “the CBI”) to ensure that the investigation did not lack credibility.

19. In Satyavir Singh Rathi5

, the matter before this Court arose

from the First Information Report (for short, “FIR”) registered against police

personnel involved in a shoot-out for an offence punishable under Sections

302/34 of the Indian Penal Code (for short, “IPC”). In the complaint, it was

alleged that the police officials had surrounded the car and had fired

indiscriminately and without cause at the occupants, killing the two and

causing grievous injuries to the third. This Court concurred with the High

Court and the trial Court on the conviction under Section 302 IPC and

rejected the defence set up by the accused persons relying on Exception 3

in Section 300 IPC as it was found to be not in good faith or due discharge

of their duty.

20. In Prakash Kadam6

, the allegation was that the accused

persons decided to eliminate the deceased in a false police encounter. The

Court noted that this was a very serious case wherein prima facie some

police officers and staff were engaged by some private persons to kill their

5

 Satyavir Singh Rathi, Assistant Commissioner of Police and Ors. v. State through Central Bureau of

Investigation; [(2011) 6 SCC 1]

6

Prakash Kadam and Ors. v. Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta and Anr.; [(2011) 6 SCC 189]

18

opponent and the police officers and the staff acted as contract killers for

them. The Court warned policemen that they would not be excused for

committing murder in the name of “encounter” on the pretext that they

were carrying out the orders of their superior officers or politicians. The

Court said that the “encounter” philosophy is a criminal philosophy.

21. In Om Prakash2

, the allegation against the accused persons

was that the complainant’s son was killed by them in a fake police

encounter. The Court, however, held that the encounter was a genuine

one though NHRC guideline for photography of the autopsy was not

complied with.

22. A two-Judge Bench of this Court in B.G. Verghese7

 dealt with

two writ petitions. In Writ Petition (Criminal) No.31/2007, it was stated that

during the years 2003-2006, 21 police encounter killings took place in the

State of Gujarat. It was alleged that the so-called police encounters were

fake and the persons were killed by the police officials in cold blood. In the

writ petition a prayer was made for ordering an inquiry into all the cases of

police encounters, which, according to the petitioner, were fake in order to

establish the rule of law and to bring out the truth in each case. In the

other Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 83/2007, the allegation related to the

killing of one person in a police encounter. It was alleged that this too was

7 B.G. Verghese v. Union of India and Ors.; [(2013) 11 SCC 525]

19

an instance of fake encounter in which the victim was killed by the officers

of the crime branch of police in cold blood and in a premeditated manner.

The prayer was made in the writ petition to order an independent

investigation by a special investigation team into all the fake encounters.

During the pendency of the matter before this Court, the State of Gujarat

had constituted a Monitoring Authority and Special Task Force for

investigation of police encounters. Since the former Judge of this Court

was appointed as Chairman of the Monitoring Authority, the Court

requested the Chairman of the Monitoring Authority to look into all the

cases of alleged fake encounters as enumerated in the two writ petitions

and to have them thoroughly investigated so that full and complete truth

comes to light in each case.

23. In Rohtash Kumar8

, again a two-Judge Bench of this Court

was confronted with killing of a person in an encounter by the police

officials. Having found that the death took place in the fake police

encounter, the Court directed an independent investigating agency to

conduct the investigation so that guilty could be brought to justice.

24. The above cases have been referred only by way of

illustration to show that killings in police encounters require independent

8 Rohtash Kumar v. State of Haryana through the Home Secretary, Government of Haryana, Civil

Secretariat, Chandigarh and Ors.; [(2013) 14 SCC 290]

20

investigation. The killings in police encounters affect the credibility of the

rule of law and the administration of the criminal justice system.

25. We are not oblivious of the fact that police in India has to

perform a difficult and delicate task, particularly, when many hardcore

criminals, like, extremists, terrorists, drug peddlers, smugglers who have

organized gangs, have taken strong roots in the society but then such

criminals must be dealt with by the police in an efficient and effective

manner so as to bring them to justice by following rule of law. We are of

the view that it would be useful and effective to structure appropriate

guidelines to restore faith of the people in police force. In a society

governed by rule of law, it is imperative that extra-judicial killings are

properly and independently investigated so that justice may be done.

26. Learned amicus curiae submits that when a police encounter

occurs, it is important that a complaint is registered; the evidence is

preserved; independent and fair investigation takes place; victims are

informed and inquest is conducted.

21Page 22

27. Sections 174ϒ

, 175∞

 and 176♣

 of the Code of Criminal

Procedure, 1973 (for short “Code”) provide for Magisterial inquiries into

cases of unnatural death. It is apposite to mention that a system for

investigating the cause of death in cases of unusual or suspicious

circumstances is in place in most countries. The system centers around

Section 174. Police to inquire and report on suicide, etc. – (1) When the officer in charge of a police

station or some other police officer specially empowered by the State Government in that behalf receives

information that a person has committed suicide, or has been killed by another or by an animal or by

machinery or by an accident, or has died under circumstances raising a reasonable suspicion that some

other person has committed an offence, he shall immediately give intimation thereof to the nearest

Executive Magistrate empowered to hold inquests, and, unless otherwise directed by any rule prescribed by

the State Government, or by any general or special order of the District or Sub- divisional Magistrate, shall

proceed to the place where the body of such deceased person is, and there, in the presence of two or more

respectable inhabitants of the neighbourhood shall make an investigation, and draw up a report of the

apparent cause of death, describing such wounds, fractures, bruises, and other marks of injury as may be

found on the body, and stating in what manner, or by what weapon or instrument (if any), such marks

appear to have been inflicted.

(2) The report shall be signed by such police officer and other persons, or by so many of them as

concur therein, and shall be forthwith forwarded to the District Magistrate or the Sub-divisional Magistrate.

(3) When-

(i) the case involves suicide by a woman within seven years of her marriage; or

(ii) the case relates to the death of a woman within seven years of her marriage in any

circumstances raising a reasonable suspicion that some other person committed an offence in relation to

such woman; or

(iii) the case relates to the death of a woman within seven years of her marriage and any relative of

the woman has made a request in this behalf; or

(iv) there is any doubt regarding the cause of death; or

(v) the police officer for any other reason considers it expedient so to do, he shall, subject to such

rules as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf, forward the body, with a view to its being

examined, to the nearest Civil Surgeon, or other qualified medical man appointed in this behalf by the

State Government, if the state of the weather and the distance admit of its being so forwarded without

risk of such putrefaction on the road as would render such examination useless.

(4) The following Magistrates are empowered to hold inquests, namely, any District Magistrate or

Sub-divisional Magistrate and any other Executive Magistrate specially empowered in this behalf by the

State Government or the District Magistrate.

 Section 175. Power to summon persons. – (1) A police officer proceeding under section 174, may, by

order in writing, summon two or more persons as aforesaid for the purpose of the said investigation, and

any other person who appears to be acquainted with the facts of the case and every person so summoned

shall be bound to attend and to answer truly all questions other than questions the answers to which have a

tendency to expose him to a criminal charge or to a penalty or forfeiture.

(2) If the facts do not disclose a cognizable offence to which section 170 applies, such persons

shall not be required by the police officer to attend a Magistrate’s Court.

 Section 176. Inquiry by Magistrate into cause of death. – (1) when the case is of the nature referred to in

clause (i) or clause (ii) of sub-section (3) of section 174, the nearest Magistrate empowered to hold inquests

shall, and in any other case mentioned in sub- section (1) of section 174, any Magistrate so empowered

may hold an inquiry into the cause of death either instead of, or in addition to, the investigation held by the

22Page 23

the policy to have reassurance that unexplained deaths do not remain

unexplained and that the perpetrator is tried by a competent court

established by law.

28. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has framed

certain general principles on the effective prevention and investigation of

extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executionsℑ

. The principles so framed

police officer; and if he does so, he shall have all the powers in conducting it which he would have in

holding an inquiry into an offence.

(1A) Where,-

(a) any person dies or disappears, or

(b) rape is alleged to have been committed on any woman,

while such person or woman is in the custody of the police or in any other custody authorized by

the Magistrate or the Court, under this Code in addition to the inquiry or investigation held by the police, an

inquiry shall be held by the Judicial Magistrate or the Metropolitan Magistrate, as the case may be, within

whose local jurisdiction the offence has been committed.

(2) The Magistrate holding such an inquiry shall record the evidence taken by him in connection

therewith in any manner hereinafter prescribed according to the circumstances of the case.

(3) Whenever such Magistrate considers it expedient to make an examination of the dead body of

any person who has been already interred, in order to discover the cause of his death, the Magistrate may

cause the body to be disinterred and examined.

(4) Where an inquiry is to be held under this section, the Magistrate shall, wherever practicable,

inform the relatives of the deceased whose names and addresses are known, and shall allow them to remain

present at the inquiry.

(5) The Judicial Magistrate or the Metropolitan Magistrate or Executive Magistrate or police

officer holding an inquiry or investigation, as the case may be, under sub-section (1A) shall, within twentyfour hours of the death of a person, forward the body with a view to its being examined to the nearest Civil

Surgeon or other qualified medical man appointed in this behalf by the State Government, unless it is not

possible to do so for reasons to be recorded in writing

Explanation.- In this section, the expression “relative” means parents, children, brothers, sisters

and spouse.

 1. Requiring states to provide the investigative authority with sufficient power to compel

any relevant parties including the official implicated to testify (Provision 10).

2. Obligating states to provide for an independent inquiry into alleged police misconduct

through an appointed commission when existing procedures are inadequate or when there are

allegations of such inadequacies. The commission members must be independent of individuals

implicated in the incident (Provision 11).

3. Requiring that those conducting autopsies must be able to function independently and

impartially (Provision 14).

4. Requiring states to protect those who witness or allege police misconduct and obligating

states to remove the implicated officers from any involvement in the investigation (Provision 15).

5. Affording the victim’s family and legal representative the right to request that an

independent qualified representative be present during the autopsy of the victim’s body (Provision

16).

by the UDHR are intended to guarantee independence while investigating

police killings and help in preventing potential for abuse, corruption,

ineffectiveness and neglect in investigation.

29. The United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement

Officers (which includes all officers of the law, who exercise police powers)

lays down that in the performance of duties, Law Enforcement Officers

shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold human

rights of all persons. Basic human rights standards for good conduct by

Law Enforcement Officers by Amnesty International, inter alia, suggest, (1)

Do not use force except when strictly necessary and to the minimum

extent required under the circumstances and (2) Do not carry out, order or

cover up extra-judicial executions or “disappearances” and refuse to obey

any order to do so

30. Minnesota Protocol (Model protocol for a legal investigation of

extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions) establishes a long line of

requisite steps. The Protocol sets the principles and medico legal

standards for the investigation and prevention of extra legal, arbitrary and

summary executions. The Protocol provides for in-depth guidance in a

6. Calling for the prompt submission of a written report on the investigation specifically

detailing the methods utilized as well as the findings of fact and law resulting from the inquiry. It

further requires that such reports be released to the public (Provision 17).

7. Recognizing that those undertaking these investigations must “have at their disposal all

the necessary budgetary and technical resources for effective investigation” into police killings.

24

general way on the subjects (1) purpose of an inquiry (2) procedure for an

inquiry (3) processing of the crime scene (4) processing of the evidence (5)

avenues to investigation (6) personal testimony etc. In Section C of the

Minnesota Protocol, a long list of requisite steps is suggested, some of

which being:

1. the area in which evidence is located should be closed off

to the public;

2. photographs of the scene and physical evidence located at

the scene should be taken in a prompt manner;

3. investigators should promptly record the condition of the

body;

4. weapons such as guns, projectiles, bullets and cartridge

cases should be taken and preserved;

5. tests for gunshot residue and trace metal detection should

be performed on the victims’ bodies and the police officers

involved;

6. fingerprints of relevant persons should be preserved;

7. information should be obtained from witnesses;

8. all persons at the scene should be identified;

9. a report detailing the work of the investigators during their

on-site visit should be kept and later disclosed;

10. evidence should be properly collected, handled, packaged,

labeled, and placed in safekeeping to prevent

contamination and loss of evidence.

31. In light of the above discussion and having regard to the

directions issued by the Bombay High Court, guidelines issued by NHRC,

25Page 26

suggestions of the appellant – PUCL, amicus curiae and the affidavits filed

by the Union of India, State Governments and the Union Territories, we

think it appropriate to issue the following requirements to be followed in the

matters of investigating police encounters in the cases of death as the

standard procedure for thorough, effective and independent investigation:

(1) Whenever the police is in receipt of any intelligence or tip-off

regarding criminal movements or activities pertaining to the

commission of grave criminal offence, it shall be reduced into writing

in some form (preferably into case diary) or in some electronic form.

Such recording need not reveal details of the suspect or the location

to which the party is headed. If such intelligence or tip-off is

received by a higher authority, the same may be noted in some form

without revealing details of the suspect or the location.

(2) If pursuant to the tip-off or receipt of any intelligence, as

above, encounter takes place and firearm is used by the police party

and as a result of that, death occurs, an FIR to that effect shall be

registered and the same shall be forwarded to the court under

Section 157 of the Code without any delay. While forwarding the

26

report under Section 157 of the Code, the procedure prescribed

under Section 158 of the Code shall be followed.

(3) An independent investigation into the incident/encounter shall

be conducted by the CID or police team of another police station

under the supervision of a senior officer (at least a level above the

head of the police party engaged in the encounter). The team

conducting inquiry/investigation shall, at a minimum, seek:

(a) To identify the victim; colour photographs of the victim

should be taken;

(b) To recover and preserve evidentiary material, including

blood-stained earth, hair, fibers and threads, etc., related to the

death;

(c) To identify scene witnesses with complete names,

addresses and telephone numbers and obtain their statements

(including the statements of police personnel involved) concerning

the death;

 (d) To determine the cause, manner, location (including

preparation of rough sketch of topography of the scene and, if

possible, photo/video of the scene and any physical evidence) and

27

time of death as well as any pattern or practice that may have

brought about the death;

(e) It must be ensured that intact fingerprints of deceased

are sent for chemical analysis. Any other fingerprints should be

located, developed, lifted and sent for chemical analysis;

(f) Post-mortem must be conducted by two doctors in the

District Hospital,one of them, as far as possible, should be Incharge/Head of the District Hospital.Post-mortem shall be video graphed and preserved;

(g) Any evidence of weapons, such as guns, projectiles,

bullets and cartridge cases, should be taken and preserved.

Wherever applicable, tests for gunshot residue and trace metal

detection should be performed.

(h) The cause of death should be found out, whether it was

natural death, accidental death, suicide or homicide.

(4) A Magisterial inquiry under Section 176 of the Code must

invariably be held in all cases of death which occur in the course of

police firing and a report thereof must be sent to Judicial Magistrate

having jurisdiction under Section 190 of the Code.

28

(5) The involvement of NHRC is not necessary unless there is

serious doubt about independent and impartial investigation.

However, the information of the incident without any delay must be

sent to NHRC or the State Human Rights Commission, as the case

may be.

(6) The injured criminal/victim should be provided medical aid and

his/her statement recorded by the Magistrate or Medical Officer with

certificate of fitness.

(7) It should be ensured that there is no delay in sending FIR,

diary entries, panchnamas, sketch, etc., to the concerned Court.

(8) After full investigation into the incident, the report should be

sent to the competent court under Section 173 of the Code. The trial,

pursuant to the chargesheet submitted by the Investigating Officer,

must be concluded expeditiously.

(9) In the event of death, the next of kin of the alleged

criminal/victim must be informed at the earliest.

(10) Six monthly statements of all cases where deaths have

occurred in police firing must be sent to NHRC by DGPs. It must be

ensured that the six monthly statements reach to NHRC by 15th day

of January and July, respectively. The statements may be sent in the

following format along with post mortem, inquest and, wherever

available, the inquiry reports:

(i) Date and place of occurrence.

(ii) Police Station, District.

(iii) Circumstances leading to deaths:

(a) Self defence in encounter.

(b) In the course of dispersal of unlawful

assembly.

(c) In the course of affecting arrest.

(iv) Brief facts of the incident.

(v) Criminal Case No.

(vi) Investigating Agency.

(vii) Findings of the Magisterial Inquiry/Inquiry by

Senior Officers:

(a) disclosing, in particular, names and

designation of police officials, if found responsible

for the death; and

(b) whether use of force was justified and action

taken was lawful.

(11) If on the conclusion of investigation the materials/evidence

having come on record show that death had occurred by use of

firearm amounting to offence under the IPC, disciplinary action

against such officer must be promptly initiated and he be placed

under suspension.

30

(12) As regards compensation to be granted to the dependants of

the victim who suffered death in a police encounter, the scheme

provided under Section 357-A of the Code must be applied.

(13) The police officer(s) concerned must surrender his/her

weapons for forensic and ballistic analysis, including any other

material, as required by the investigating team, subject to the rights

under Article 20 of the Constitution.

(14) An intimation about the incident must also be sent to the

police officer’s family and should the family need services of a

lawyer / counselling, same must be offered.

(15) No out-of-turn promotion or instant gallantry rewards shall be

bestowed on the concerned officers soon after the occurrence. It

must be ensured at all costs that such rewards are

given/recommended only when the gallantry of the concerned

officers is established beyond doubt.

(16) If the family of the victim finds that the above procedure has

not been followed or there exists a pattern of abuse or lack of

independent investigation or impartiality by any of the functionaries

as above mentioned, it may make a complaint to the Sessions

Judge having territorial jurisdiction over the place of incident. Upon

31

such complaint being made, the concerned Sessions Judge shall

look into the merits of the complaint and address the grievances

raised therein.

32. The above guidelines will also be applicable to grievous injury

cases in police encounter, as far as possible.

33. Accordingly, we direct that the above requirements / norms

must be strictly observed in all cases of death and grievous injury in police

encounters by treating them as law declared under Article 141 of the

Constitution of India.

 ….………..……………………CJI.

(R.M. Lodha)

NEW DELHI; …….………..……………………J.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2014. (Rohinton Fali Nariman)

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