The Gauhati High Court on Monday sought a detailed affidavit from the Assam government over the alleged human rights violations in the State on account of encounter deaths since May last year.
A division bench of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia asked Advocate General Devajit Lon Saikia to inform the court of the progress made in the cases of encounter referred to by the State Human Rights Commission in its order on July 7, 2021.
The Assam Human Rights Commission took suo motu cognizance of the alleged encounter killings and had issued notice to the Assam government in the matter.
The Bench also took judicial notice of a killing of a youth in the Sivasagar district of Assam.
It directed the listing of the matter on January 11.
The High Court was hearing a PIL filed by Arif Md. Yeasin Jwadder, a Delhi-based advocate, sought an independent probe under the supervision of the High Court into the encounter killings in Assam.
He has also sought the registration of FIRs into the killings of alleged criminals under Section 302 of the IPC.
Besides, he seeks the constitution of Human Rights Courts in the state as mandated under Section 30 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
Appearing for the petitioner, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising argued that the PIL raised an issue of public importance viz. rule of law in the state.
She submitted that in view of the gravity of the matter, the State Human Rights Commission also took suo motu cognizance but no substantive progress has been made in the probe into the ‘fake encounters’ cases.
In his petition, Jwadder has argued that since May 2021 when the state government led by new Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma came to power, the Assam police have been on an “encounter spree”, shooting and killing alleged accused with no criminal records.
“The modus operandi for every such encounter has been the same, in which the alleged accused tries to flee from the police custody, snatching a service revolver of the police official and for self defense, the police officer retaliates and shoots,” the petition reads.