The Supreme Court on Wednesday said a panel headed by its former judge Justice H S Bedi,looking into 22 alleged fake encounter killings in Gujarat between 2002 to 2006,can induct police officers from outside the state to ensure a fair probe.
A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam considered the submissions of poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar that the police officers,who are part of the Justice Bedi monitoring panel,belong to Gujarat and a fair probe was not possible under the present circumstances.
“The Chairman (Justice Bedi) is permitted to take the assistance of persons and officers outside the state of Gujarat,” the bench,also comprising justices Ranjana P Desai and Ranjan Gogoi,said.
At first,the bench was reluctant to make any clarification saying “is it necessary to monitor as to how the investigation is being carried out (by Justice Bedi panel)? If Justice Bedi has any problem,he can write to us and it is his job to conduct the investigation.”
“Let the monitoring committee do its job and deficiencies,if any,in the reports can be pointed out later,” it said.
However,when advocate Prashant Bhushan,appearing for Akhtar and social activist Shabnam Hashmi,repeatedly submitted that Justice Bedi has misunderstood the January 25,2012 order and a clarification will help in fair probe,the bench agreed with his request.
“It seemed Justice Bedi misunderstood the (SC) order,” Bhushan said adding a fair investigation is not possible if serving police officers from Gujarat are part of the panel.
The apex court had on March 2,2012 appointed its retired judge,Justice H S Bedi,as the chairman of the monitoring authority looking into the cases of alleged fake encounter killings during the four year period in Gujarat. The killings allegedly show a pattern that people from the minority community were targeted as terrorists.