Probe Batla House shootout for ‘transparency’: high court

April 23rd, 2009 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Suggesting a magisterial inquiry into the controversial Batla House shootout last year, the Delhi High Court Thursday said the government’s reluctance in conducting the probe “might create suspicion” over the police version in the case.
“The more the government hardens its stand, the more suspicion it might create,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Neeraj Kishan Kaul said.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the government, vehemently opposed the idea of conducting the magisterial probe, prompting the court to say it was to bring in transparency.

“It is to bring transparency by conducting such an inquiry… This is the minimum protection (against human rights violations),” the court said and asked the solicitor to take instruction from the government on the issue.

Two suspected terrorists and a police inspector were killed Sep 18, 2008 last year - a week after serial bombings rocked the capital killing 26 people.

The court, however, made it clear that the report of the inquiry, if conducted, would not be used for any other proceeding and would be submitted before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which would decide on further course of action on the basis of finding.

“Take instruction from the government. The inquiry is only a fact-finding exercise and its report would not be used by any other body. The NHRC will look into the report and would decide what is to be done,” the court said while adjourning the matter for May 4.

The remark came on a petition by an NGO, Act Now For Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), which has demanded a judicial probe into the shootout.

Delhi Police counsel Mukta Gupta had told the court in the last hearing that a magisterial probe would have “demoralising impact” on the police force.

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