A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court has set aside its single-judge order of handing over probe into 10 alleged fake encounters by Punjab cops during the militancy period in the state in early 90s in Moga, Faridkot and Ferozepur to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The judgment came from the division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih on a bunch of petitions challenging the single-judge order. The division bench also slapped a cost of Rs 50,000 on the petitioners who had approached the high court initially.
In April 2008, justice Ranjit Singh (now retired) had issued directions to the CBI to probe the matter, but the division bench had stayed the same when the order was challenged in May 2008.
It was on a petition filed in 1994 by Punjab Police constable Satwant Singh Manak, claiming to be an eyewitness to fake encounters and seeking a CBI probe into such cases to ensure a fair investigation, that the single judge had handed over the probe to the CBI to complete it at the earliest.
Manak had submitted that such false encounters were nothing but cold-blooded murders committed by police and passed off as encounters. Manak had sought the registration of criminal cases against the police officers responsible in such cases. The petitioner had submitted the details of 10 cases of such ‘encounter’ deaths in the early 1990s.