Favouring death penalty for cops convicted of fake encounter killings, the Supreme Court had categorically said in May 2011 that "trigger-happy policemen who think they can kill people…and get away with it should know that the gallows await them."
It will be known on Monday if the Delhi court follows this verdict while sentencing seven Uttarakhand policemen for killing MBA student Ranbir Singh in Dehradun in July 2009.
"We are of the view that in cases where a fake encounter is proved against policemen, they must be given the death sentence," a bench headed by justice Markandey Katju (since retired) had said. "The 'encounter' philosophy is a criminal philosophy, and all policemen must know this," it added.
The apex court had upheld a Bombay HC order dismissing the bail applications of five Mumbai Police officers who allegedly acted as contract killers to eliminate real estate agent Ramnarayan Gupta in November 2006. 'Encounter specialist' Pradeep Sharma was an accused in the case.
"Fake encounters are nothing but cold-blooded, brutal murders by persons who are supposed to uphold the law. In our opinion… if the offence is committed by policemen, much harsher punishment (than usual) should be given to them because they act totally contrary to their duties," the SC had said.
It added: "When the rule of law collapses, it is replaced by Matsya-nyaya, the law of the jungle. In Sanskrit, 'Matsya' means fish and Matsya-nyaya means a state where the big fish devour the smaller ones."