Gujarat Government Gets 2 Weeks To File Response In Encounter Case

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The Supreme Court-appointed committee has recently submitted its final report.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Monday granted a week to the Gujarat government to file its response to the final report of a court-appointed committee which has monitored the probe into alleged fake encounter killings in Gujarat between 2002 and 2006.

The Supreme Court has been hearing two public interest litigation in this regard, which were filed in 2007 by veteran journalist BG Verghese and poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar, seeking a direction for a probe by an independent agency or the CBI so that the "truth may come out". Mr Verghese died in 2014.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was on Monday apprised by lawyer Prashant Bhushan that the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee, headed by former judge Justice HS Bedi, had supervised the probe of the Special Task Force (STF) into the encounter killings and has recently submitted its final report in the registry.

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Mr Bhushan told the bench, which also comprised Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, that both the petitions now be accorded final hearings.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state government, said the state be given either one or two weeks time to file its response to the report of the monitoring committee and the PILs may be listed for hearing after X'Mas break.

The bench, however, posted the PILs for hearing on December 12 and asked the state government to file its response within a week.

At the outset, the CJI bench referred to huge pendency of cases required to be heard by larger constitution benches of five, seven and nine judges and said, "Why do we hear all these matters. Now the final report has already been filed in these cases".

The CJI then told Mr Bhushan that there were many old death reference cases, needing urgent hearing, pending with the court and asked "tell us, what we should do?"

"Of course, they are important matters, but this is also important," Mr Bhushan replied.

The Supreme Court in September 2016 had granted three more months to the STF to conclude its ongoing probe into the alleged fake encounter killings in Gujarat between 2002 and 2006.

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