Truth behind shootout must come out: court

April 8th, 2009 - 10:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday said it is concerned not only with the case of shootout in south Delhi in which two suspected terrorists and a police inspector were killed, but also with every such case and wants the truth to come out.
Hearing a public interest petition demanding a magisterial inquiry into the shootout, a division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said, “We are concerned not only with the Batla House encounter case but about all such cases. If such inquiry is not conducted, truth would not come out.”

The court asked the police if the National Human Rights Commission’s guidelines for such cases, recommending a judicial inquiry, are mandatory or not.

In reply, the police said the guidelines are not mandatory in law and should be reviewed in view of the growing number of terrorist attacks in the country.

Delhi Police counsel Mukta Gupta argued that a magisterial inquiry into this case 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,” Gupta said, while justifying the lieutenant-governor’s decision not to order a probe into the shootout.

“If every bullet fired is going to invite a magisterial inquiry or murder case, the officers will avoid carrying weapons and a young man in the country will avoid joining the police. If this message goes around in the criminals, total chaos is not far away,” police counsel said.

The court was hearing a petition filed by an NGO - Act Now For Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD) - seeking a judicial inquiry into the Sep 19, 2008, shootout. Two suspected terrorists, allegedly involved in the Delhi serial blasts, and police inspector M.C. Sharma were killed in that incident.

The police say the slain suspects were involved in the Sep 13, 2008, serial bombings in the capital.

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