B. Kemal Pasha, former judge of the Kerala High Court on Friday used strong language to condemn the police encounter in Hyderabad in which four men, accused of raping and killing a 27-year-old veterinary doctor, were shot dead by security forces in the early hours of the day. The retired judge said that the common man has lost faith in the country’s judicial system.
Speaking to indianexpress.com over phone, the retired judge said, “I cannot call it an encounter. I feel these are cold-blooded murders. Even though it is the will of the people, the police ought not to have done it.”
He continued, “Initially, the police turned a deaf ear to the persons who complained that the woman is missing. Later when her mutilated body was found, people began to get violent and the police wanted to save their skin. Maybe that’s why they were shot dead. It is not the punishment prescribed under the Indian penal system. I want the accused to be given the maximum punishment of the land too, but this is not the way it has to be executed.”
The retired jurist said the police may have resorted to shooting the accused dead, as they knew the will of the people. When asked if the incident would open the police up to investigation and scrutiny, the judge said, “They are least bothered. They know people would not condemn them and that’s the reason they dared to do it. The people of Telangana are very happy, but this is a dangerous situation. Police may think since it is the will of the people, they can do anything.”
Justice Pasha, who retired in May 2018 after sitting on the bench of the Kerala HC in Kochi for nearly four years, is extremely vocal on social issues in the state and beyond.
In the wake of the Hyderabad encounter, he urged substantial changes to the criminal justice dispensing system for people’s faith in the courts to be brought back. The solution to that, he recommended was to switch to a modern inquisitorial system where the accused in a case has to file a statement in which he can admit certain facts and those which he could deny.
“In such cases, trial can be completed in 20 days and judgment can be pronounced swiftly. Here, we are still following the old anglo-saxian principle of accusatory system where we are giving the benefit of the doubt to the accused. The burden is entirely on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused has committed the offence,” he said.
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