‘Delhi Chalo’ stir: SC refuses to stay judicial probe into farmer’s death - Hindustan Times
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‘Delhi Chalo’ stir: SC refuses to stay judicial probe into farmer’s death

ByPress Trust of India
Apr 02, 2024 06:36 AM IST

The apex court was hearing a petition filed by the Haryana government challenging the high court’s March 7 order which had formed a committee headed by a former high court judge to inquire into the death of a farmer, Shubh Karan Singh, during the clash.

New Delhi

Shubh Karan, a native of Bathinda, was killed and several police personnel were injured in clashes at Khanauri on the Punjab-Haryana border on February 21. (HT photo)
Shubh Karan, a native of Bathinda, was killed and several police personnel were injured in clashes at Khanauri on the Punjab-Haryana border on February 21. (HT photo)

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday declined to stay the judicial probe ordered by the Punjab and Haryana high court into the death of a 22-year-old farmer during a clash between farmers and security personnel on the Punjab-Haryana border.

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The SC said the supervision of the matter by a panel headed by a retired judge would infuse fairness and transparency.

The apex court was hearing a petition filed by the Haryana government challenging the high court’s March 7 order which had formed a committee headed by a former high court judge to inquire into the death of a farmer, Shubh Karan Singh, during the clash.

Shubh Karan, a native of Bathinda, was killed and several police personnel were injured in clashes at Khanauri on the Punjab-Haryana border on February 21.

The incident took place when some protesting farmers were trying to head towards barricades and were stopped by the security personnel from crossing the state border and marching to Delhi.

The plea came up for hearing before a bench of justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan on Monday.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for Haryana, referred to a paragraph from the high court’s order and said this will demoralise the police force.

“If the police have to face a PIL for every incident, how will they maintain law and order,” he said, adding that hundreds of people had gathered there with lethal weapons.

The bench observed that sometimes, in public agitation, some miscreants take undue advantage of the situation.

Mehta said 67 police personnel were injured during the incident and if committees are to be appointed, what will be the morale of those who are maintaining law and order.

The bench said the high court was concerned with the homicidal death and the family members of the deceased had expressed some apprehensions.

It said the three-member committee is headed by a retired high court judge.

“We also appoint former judges to infuse fairness and transparency,” the bench observed.

Mehta said the apex court may choose an officer and monitor the investigation in the case.

The bench observed the high court will take up the matter again on April 10.

“Let us see what happens. The matter is pending before the high court,” it said.

Mehta said he is not against the committee or its members. He referred to one of the directions of the high court which said the “committee shall also examine the issue whether the force which was used on the dates mentioned above was commensurate with the situation and give its report”.

“We don’t want the Supreme Court to become panacea of all problems,” it said, adding the high court is also a constitutional court and it will deal with the issue.

“This is not something unusual which has been done,” the bench said, adding that this was a case where two police forces of separate states have different stances and the high court has appointed an “umpire”.

The apex court said the judiciary will take care of the morale of the police force as well as of the people.

It posted the matter for further hearing on April 19.

The high court had formed the committee headed by retired HC judge Jaishree Thakur to inquire into the various aspects of the case, saying the investigation regarding the death of Shubh Karan cannot be entrusted solely either to Punjab or to Haryana for “reasons obvious as both states have several things to cover up”.

It had said the committee will be assisted by Additional Director General of Police (Punjab) Parmod Ban and ADGP (Haryana) Amitabh Singh Dhillon.

The Punjab Police had registered a zero FIR in the matter.

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