Govt issues notification for judicial inquiry into SIMI encounter
The MP government has issued a notification for judicial inquiry into the jailbreak and alleged encounter of eight SIMI operatives, four days after chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made the announcement. Justice (retd) SK Pande will head the one-man inquiry commission in Bhopal.
The probe will primarily look into the circumstances under which the eight SIMI operatives escaped from the central jail, the role prison officers and employees in the jailbreak, if any and the sequence of events that led to the encounter at Manikhedi village on the outskirts of Bhopal.
According to the terms of reference, the inquiry should be complete in three months from the date of publication of the notification in the state gazette. The report will also propose suggestions to avert such incidents in the future.
Several Muslim organisations, human rights activists and opposition Congress have sought a high-level judicial probe into the incident, which they alleged was a “staged encounter”. Under pressure, chief minister has finally announced a judicial probe on Thursday, a move seen by many as CM’s possible bid to placate the minority community and stem a potential controversy.
On October 31, eight SIMI men fled Bhopal central jail after killing a warder and overpowering a jail sentry. They allegedly opened the locks of their cells and scaled the wall of the high-security prison with the help of a rope made of bed-sheets. Within eight hours, they were gunned down at a hillock on the outskirts of Bhopal.
Commissions of Inquiry Act
The report of the commission has to be tabled by the state government in the assembly, along with a memorandum of the action taken, within a period of six months of its submission
According the Act, the state govt can issue a notification in the official gazette to appoint a commission of inquiry into any definite matter of public importance
The commission has the power to ask any person to furnish information related to inquiry and the person is legally bound to furnish such information. It is deemed to be a civil court and can forward the case to a magistrate for trial
Any proceedings before the commission will be deemed to be a judicial proceeding under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.