NHRC insists on magisterial probe into Batla House shootout

April 15th, 2009 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has rejected as “unacceptable” Delhi Police’s excuses for not conducting a magisterial inquiry into the Batla House shootout last year, in which two suspected terrorists and a police inspector were killed.
“If every state comes with an excuse that they cannot conduct a magisterial enquiry into such cases, then the commission will be left with no other work at all,” NHRC counsel told the Delhi High Court Wednesday.

The remark came on a petition by an NGO, Act Now For Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), that has demanded a judicial probe into the Sep 19, 2008, shootout - within a week of the serial bombings in the capital.

ANHAD counsel Prashant Bhushan submitted before a division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Neeraj Kishna Kaul that the need of the hour in the present case is a judicial probe to save the interests of people from a particular community.

The court after hearing the contention slated the matter for April 23 when it will hear the government’s views.

Earlier, the court said it is concerned not only with the case of the Batla House shootout but also with every such case and wants the truth to come out.

“We are concerned not only with the Batla House encounter case but about all such cases. If such an inquiry is not conducted, truth would not come out,” the bench observed.

Delhi Police counsel argued that a magisterial inquiry would demoralise the police force.

“A magisterial inquiry in the case can have a demoralising impact on the police force and they would think twice before taking any decision while confronting terrorists in the country,” police counsel Mukta Gupta said, while justifying the lieutenant-governor’s decision not to order a probe into the shootout.

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