Delhi High Court on Wednesday endorsed the clean chit given to Delhi Police by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the Batla House encounter case.
“It’s a statutory body and if that body has come to the conclusion that it is not a fake encounter, then court should not interfere in it,” said a Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Manmohan.
But the endorsement came amidst high drama in the courtroom as lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO of civil rights activists who have demanded a judicial probe into the incident, tried to persuade the court to reject the report.
The NHRC had concluded there were no human rights violations by the police who acted in self defence while killing the two alleged militants involved in the September 13 blasts. The body also said the Special Cell’s slain officer M C Sharma had been shot by militants and not fired at from behind by “mysterious persons” as alleged.
Bhushan contended the commission did not conduct an independent probe and has gone solely by the version supplied to it by the police “which was riddled with contradictions”.
When Justice Shah said “the prestige and independence of a statutory body had to be preserved at all costs, Bhushan retorted “your lordship on a daily basis overrules many orders passed by various statutory bodies”.
Bhushan even went to the extent of asking “is your lordship hesitant (to reject the report) because some retired Supreme Court judge is sitting as its chief?”
But the Bench refused to react and said it was disposing of the matter.