Fake encounter killings
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This article is written by Utkarsh Singh, a law student of Amity Law School, Noida. This is an exhaustive article that deals with fake encounter killings.


Police “encounter killings” – the term for an extrajudicial killing dressed up as an unavoidable police activity – are nothing new in this country. These are broadly drilled by the Maharashtra police to manage the Mumbai underworld, by the Punjab police against Sikhs requesting Khalistan, and since 2017, after Yogi Adityanath turned into the main priest, by the UP Police. In all actuality such ‘encounters’ are, truth be told, not encounters at everything except inhumane homicide by the police. Article 21 of the constitution states-“No person will be deprived of his life or personal liberty except in accordance with the procedure established by law. “This implies before denying an individual of his life, the state is required to place the individual being investigated as per the arrangements of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

In the preliminary, the accused must be educated for the charges against him and afterwards allowed a chance to guard himself (through direction) and at exactly that point, whenever seen as blameworthy, would he be able to be sentenced and executed. Fake ‘encounters’, on the other hand, fully avoid and bypass the legal procedures, as it simply means striking any person off without the trial. Therefore it is fully unconstitutional and illegal. Cops regularly legitimize this strategy by guaranteeing that there are some feared crooks against whom nobody would set out to give proof, thus the best way to manage them is through fake ‘encounters’. The issue, in any case, is this is a hazardous way of thinking and can be abused. For example, if a businessperson needs to dispose of an opponent agent he can give pay off to some corrupt police officers to knock off his adversary in a fake ‘encounter’ in the wake of pronouncing him a fear monger.

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Laws dealing with encounters

It is relevant to note at the starting point that there is no law, provision or norm in the Indian law which gives the official permission to encounter a criminal independent of the egregiousness of the wrongdoing done by him. Notwithstanding, there are some empowering arrangements that might be translated in order to vest authorities with the ability to manage crooks including the ability to utilize power against a lawbreaker. Section 100 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 approves any individual to practice his privilege of private safeguard which may stretch out to causing passing if there is sensible fear in the psyche of the individual that there exists a danger to life or appendage.

Be that as it may, the Supreme Court held in Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association v. Association of India that qualification must be drawn between the privilege of self-preservation or private protection and utilization of unreasonable power or reprisal and that the privilege can be practised uniquely to shield oneself yet not to fight back. Section 46 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 gives permission to a cop to use all-important means to effect the arrest of the person. Sub-section 2 says as- “If such a person forcibly resists the endeavour to arrest him, or attempts to evade the arrest, such police officer or other people may use all means necessary to effect the arrest. Likewise, when an encounter is claimed to be amounting to homicide”.

Exception 3 to Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code comes into play which gives that punishable manslaughter isn’t murdering if the guilty party, being a local official representing the headway of open equity surpasses the force given to him by law and causes demise by doing a demonstration which he, in compliance with common decency, accepts to be legal and fundamental for the release of his obligation and without malevolence towards the individual whose passing is caused. Moreover, Rule 189 of the Bombay Police Manual expresses that if without the utilization of guns, it was unrealistic to capture the individual, the utilization of guns is reasonable and the cop is shielded from the result and even from the risk for the demise of an individual discharged under such conditions. The Supreme Court in Public Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India, while commenting on the legitimacy of encounters, observed as follows –

“if the version of the police with respect to the incident in question were true there could have been no question of any interference by Court. Nobody can say that the police should wait till they are shot at. It is for the force on the spot to decide when to act, how to act and where to act. It is not for the Court to say how the criminals should be fought.” The Supreme Court in Public Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India, while commenting on the legitimacy of encounters, observed as follows “If the version of the police with respect to the incident in question were true there could have been no question of any interference by the Court. Nobody can say that the police should wait till they are shot at. It is for the force on the spot to decide when to act, how to act and where to act. It is not for the Court to say how the criminals should be fought.”

Therefore, it is clear that encounters are in a roundabout way authorized by enactment as well as thought about vital by the Supreme Court to keep a beware of the unsafe components in the public arena.

Views of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

  • In March 1997, Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah the then administrator of the NHRC, in the background of expanded grievances from the overall population and non-legislative associations identified with occurrences of fake encounters by the police underlined that the police have not been deliberated with an option to remove somebody’s life, aside from under two conditions:
    1. In the event that the demise is caused in the activity of the privilege to private protection, 
    2. Section 46 of the CrPC that approves the police to utilize power, stretching out up to the cause of death, as might be important to capture the individual blamed for an offence culpable with death or detainment forever.
  • In the light of this thought, the NHRC asked all states and Union Territories to guarantee that police follows the accompanying arrangement of rules in instances of encounter killings:
    1. Register: When the responsible for a Police Station gets data about the passings in an encounter, he will record that data in the fitting register. 
    2. Examination: Received data will be viewed as adequate to presume and quick advances must be embraced to explore the important realities and conditions prompting the demise in order to discover, assuming any, the offence was submitted and by whom. 
    3. Remuneration: It can be conceded to the wards of the expired when the cops are indicted based on the aftereffects of the examination. 
    4. Autonomous Agency: Whenever the cops having a place with a similar police headquarters are the individuals from the encounter party, it is fitting that the cases for examination are alluded to some other free examination office, for example, State CID. 
  • In 2010, NHRC broadened these rules by including:
    1. Enrolling FIR: When a grumbling is made against the police charging carrying out of a criminal demonstration perceived as a cognizable instance of at-fault murder, an FIR must be enlisted under proper sections of the IPC. 
    2. Authoritative Probe: An authoritative enquiry must be held in all instances of death which happens over the span of police activity, as speedily as could be expected under the circumstances (ideally inside a quarter of a year). 
    3. Answering to Commission: All instances of passings in police activity in the states will be for starters answered to the Commission by the Senior Superintendent of Police/Superintendent of Police of the District within 48 hours of such demise. 
    4. A subsequent report must be sent in all cases to the Commission inside a quarter of a year giving data like after death report, discoveries of the authoritative enquiry/enquiry by senior officials, and so forth.

View of the Supreme Court

The Apex Court has held in Om Prakash v. Territory of Jharkhand that “it is not the obligation of the police to slaughter the denounced just in light of the fact that he is a crook.” It was additionally expressed that ‘encounters’ added up to “state-supported psychological oppression.” In Sathyavani Ponrai v. Samuel Raj, the Supreme Court has held that a reasonable examination is compulsory under Articles 14, Article 21 and 39 of the Constitution of India and that it isn’t just an established right yet a characteristic right too.

Further in Nirmal Singh Kahlon v. the State of Punjab, the Court saw that the privilege to examination and reasonable preliminary is pertinent to both, the charged and the casualty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Article 21 unmistakably expresses that no individual will be denied his life and individual freedom with the exception of as indicated by the methodology built up by law. This implies a reasonable criminal preliminary, judgment dependent on proof, a chance to the blame be heard, request arrangements to correct the preliminary court’s decision, and so forth are fundamental before an individual is rebuffed. Fake or organized encounters engage the police to assume the job of an appointed authority and killer and prompts an immediate infringement of Article 21 as the system set up by law isn’t followed in such a case.

Further, in Prakash Kadam v. Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta, the Supreme Court has held that a phoney encounter by a police official falls under the classification of ‘rarest of uncommon case’ as set down in Bachan Singh v. Territory of Punjab and along these lines, capital punishment would be pulled in to the concerned police official. As of late, the Supreme Court in Public Union for Civil Liberties v. Association of India, while examining extralegal killings has held that no State can disregard the privilege to life and commitment to observe the methodology set up by law under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The Court opined that encounter killings by the police must be explored autonomously as it “influences the believability of the standard of law and the organization of the criminal equity framework.” It has additionally given 16 rules for the free examination of encounter killings which must be trailed by every single concerned authority. These rules remember mandatory enrollment of FIRs for instances of encounters, a request by the justice, an examination either by the CIB or some other free organization and guaranteeing that no amiss advancement or heroism reward is given to the concerned official until the validity of the encounter is resolved.

What if the police personnel are found guilty?

The police staff will be charged under Section-299 of the Indian Penal Code for the punishable crime. Also, the payment must be conceded to the kinfolk of the expired, in the event that the cops are indicted based on the examination.

Recent Hyderabad case

The men were in police detainment and were reclaimed to the location of the wrongdoing in the early hours. The suspects were shot when they attempted to take the officials’ weapons and break, police revealed to BBC Telugu. Nonetheless, human rights associations including Amnesty International have called for examinations to decide whether these were extrajudicial killings. “Extrajudicial killings are not an answer for forestalling assault,” said Avinash Kumar, official chief of Amnesty International India. The 27-year-old assault casualty’s roasted remains were found last Thursday – prompting shock and fights over supposed police inaction.

After updates on the killings broke, the casualty’s mom told the BBC, “equity has been done”, while neighbours celebrated with fireworks, and a huge number of individuals rampaged to hail the police. Ten outfitted police officers took the four suspects – who were not bound “The four men kicked together and off to assault the officials with stones and sticks and furthermore grabbed away weapons from two officials and began discharging, “Despite the fact that the officials kept up restriction and requested that they give up, they kept on shooting and assault us. This continued for 15 minutes. We fought back and four charges got slaughtered.” Two officials endured head wounds yet these were not brought about by slugs.


Subsequently, the police ought to consistently be considered responsible under the law for their demonstrations and not the slightest bit can the offensiveness of the wrongdoing submitted by the denounced can give a guard to them. The Supreme Court in Nandini Sundar v. Territory of Chattisgarh (Salwa Judum Case) while remarking on a definitive Rule of Law, has seen that it is the essential obligation of each organ of the State to work inside the four corners of protected duty. The unconstrained celebrations the whole way across the nation over the encounter of attackers are in the festivity of five, and not only four passings. The fifth demise is that of the nation’s confidence in its criminal equity framework and the need of great importance is to reconstruct the lost trust in the equity conveyance component in the nation and assist the procedure.


  1. https://jilsblognujs.wordpress.com/2020/04/14/open-ended-police-encounters-and-public-response-in-india/
  2. https://www.latestlaws.com/articles/fake-encounter-the-saga-continues-by-sparsh-jain/
  3. https://thewire.in/law/hyderabad-police-encounter
  4. https://www.drishtiias.com/loksabha-rajyasabha-discussions/in-depth-encounter-supreme-court-guidelines

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