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Encounter philosophy is a criminal philosophy

Encounter philosophy is a criminal philosophy

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus: GS-2-  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Encounter philosophy is a criminal philosophy 

  • Recently there is a rise in allegations of extra judicial police killings in India.An extrajudicial killing(also known as extrajudicial execution) is the killing of a person by governmental authorities or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process.
  • Alarmed by the spate of extra-judicial killings happening in the country, the Supreme Court, in People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. State of Maharashtra (2014),said that “the ‘encounter’ philosophy is a criminal philosophy” because it affects the credibility of the rule of law.

Current developments in India:

  • According to a fact-finding report by Citizens Against Hate (CAH),a collective comprising public-spirited members of civil society, there is utter disregard in U.P. for the guidelines for investigation of extra-judicial killings laid down by the Supreme Court as well as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
  • The report, published in May 2018, titled Countering the Silence — Citizens’ Report on Extra Judicial Executions in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, Indiaundertakes, inter alia, a detailed study of 16 extra-judicial killings in U.P. since March 2017.
  • The findings reveal that the FIRs registered by the U.P. police in respect of the 16 killings contain similar, if not identical, facts, and seem to be modelled on a fixed template.
  • The sequence of events leading to the killings is identical, with names being the only difference.
  • CAH’s interactions with the family members of the victims of these killings suggest that rather than being spontaneous acts of self-defence by police officers, these are premeditated acts of murder.
  • The report also documents how investigations into these killings did not follow the Supreme Court guidelines.
  • For example,
  • none of the 16 cases was transferred to the CID for investigation;
  • final reports under Section 173 of the CrPC submitted to magistrates did not contain reports of forensic/ ballistics analysis;
  • In 11 out of the 16 cases, the family members of the deceased are not even aware about the magisterial inquiry being conducted,
  • Their statements have not even been recorded by the magistrate concerned.

Guidelines given:

The Court laid down a number of guidelines for the prevention and investigation of such killings, including

  • immediate registration of FIR in respect of such killings;
  • independent investigation by the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or the police force of a police station other than that involved in the extra-judicial killing,
  • Headed by an officer ranked higher than the policemen involved in the incident; and simultaneous magisterial inquiry under Section 176of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

Ending the culture of impunity:

  • The extra-judicial killings in U.P. show that the NHRC and the Supreme Court guidelines need a reworking.
  • The only way to stem the rising tide of extra-judicial killings is to end the culture of impunity and punish police officerswho resort to such extra-legal means.
  • This is only possible if the investigation into such cases is independent and fair.
  • The National and State Human Rights Commissionscould have an investigative arm to probe police encounters and custodial deaths.
  • This would be one way of ensuring that the investigations are independent of police and political interference.
  • Another way would be to handover investigation of such cases to an agency independent of the State government like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
  • The inquiry must be done under the aegis of a retired judgewith some credibility and independence to go to the root of this matter and hold the police officers and other persons accountable.
  • This is a wake-up call for our democracy and the judiciary. There is a need to redeem the pledge of our Constitution-makers to establish a republic governed by the rule of law and protected by an independent judiciary.

Source:”The Hindu”


The ‘encounter’ philosophy is a criminal philosophy” because it affects the credibility of the rule of law. Analyse the statement in light of the rise in such killings in India, recently.