Final report of panel on Gujarat encounters should be given to parties: Supreme Court

New Delhi | Rejecting the Gujarat government’s plea, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that the final report of the Justice H S Bedi Committee on 24 alleged fake encounter cases from 2002 to 2006 in the state be given to parties of the petition.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it would deal later on whether to accept or reject the final report of the Justice Bedi committee on encounter cases.

The top court was hearing two PILs filed in 2007 by veteran journalist B G Verghese and poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar, seeking a direction for a probe by an independent agency or the CBI so the “truth may come out”.

Verghese passed away on December 30, 2014.

The bench, which was Wednesday hearing a plea to make the report public, did not accept the Gujarat government’s contention that the final report not be given to Akhtar and Verghese’s counsel as it may prejudice matters against persons it might have named in the report.

The bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and S K Kaul, granted the Gujarat government and the counsel of Akhtar and Verghese four weeks to file their responses to the report submitted by Justice Bedi, who was appointed a chairperson of the apex court-appointed committee that had probed the encounter cases.

The Gujarat government objected to making the report public, contending that it was not clear whether the views expressed were unilateral or whether Justice Bedi had shared them with other members of the monitoring committee.

Earlier, the apex court asked the former apex court judge if he had shared his final report with other members of the panel. It also asked him to give his view on the questions expeditiously.

The court was earlier informed that the apex court-appointed monitoring committee supervised the probe of the Special Task Force (STF) into the encounter killings and submitted its final report to the registry.

In September 2016, the apex court granted three more months to the STF to conclude its probe into the alleged fake encounter killings in Gujarat between 2002 and 2006.

The STF said it had probed 22 cases and two of the total 24 encounter matters remained to be investigated.

Justice Bedi was appointed chairperson of the already functioning monitoring committee set up by the state government on March 2, 2012.

The apex court asked the monitoring authority to place before it preliminary reports relating to the alleged fake encounters between 2002 and 2006 in Gujarat, purportedly showing a pattern that people from the minority community were targeted as terrorists. These were submitted periodically.

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