Even five months after the controversial Batla encounter, a decision on a judicial or independent probe demanded by civil rights activists is yet to be taken.
The reason is that Delhi High Court has refused to pass any direction thinking the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is holding an enquiry. The rights body, meanwhile, did not initiate any proceedings under the impression that the court was already seized of the issue.
The confusion between the high court and NHRC came to light on Wednesday during the hearing of a PIL filed by an NGO — Act Now For Harmony and Democracy — seeking a judicial inquiry into the September 19, 2008 encounter in which two alleged terrorists involved in the September 13 Delhi serial blasts, and police inspector M.C. Sharma were killed.
The NGO has raised doubts about the veracity of the police version on the encounter citing many discrepancies in its stand and said only a judicial enquiry can bring out the truth.
When a bench headed by Chief Justice A.P. Shah sought the status of probe from the NHRC counsel, she said: “We kept the proceedings on hold because the high court was seized of the issue”. To this Justice Shah replied: “But we have made it clear in many previous orders. NHRC has got the machinery to conduct the enquiry and we thought you were already on it so we refused to express any opinion till now. Anyways we want you to go ahead”.
Meanwhile, reacting to Lt Governor’s refusal to sanction a magisterial probe, Justice Shah wanted to know from the NHRC if any executive authority had the power to ask the government not to follow its guidelines.
The court has asked the NHRC to file a status report in the court on March 18.