Apex Court stays contempt reference against IGP, SSP; Seeks report on Tengpora youth’s killing on the basis of first FIR; HC adjourns matter by one week
New Delhi/Srinagar: Initiating proceedings against police officials would demoralise them, the state government told the Supreme Court of India, which on Tuesday stayed contempt proceedings a court has said should be initiated against IGP Kashmir and SSP Srinagar in connection with the killing of a man at Tengpora here last month.
Hearing a special leave petition filed by the ruling PDP-BJP government against the high court’s August 4 order, a division bench of the apex court comprising Justices PC Ghose and Amitava Roy sought a report from state authorities on the circumstances under which the 26-year-old man Shabir Ahmad Mir was killed at Tengpora on July 10.
“Having regard to the facts and circumstances of this case, we direct the state authorities to complete the investigation with regard to the complaint filed by the father of the deceased on the basis of the First Information Report already lodged on July 10, 2016 and submit a report, in a sealed cover, on or before August 12, 2016,” the bench said.
It also issued a notice to Shabir’s father, seeking his reply to the SLP by next date of hearing on Friday.
The high court had upheld the Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar’s orders on 18 and 28 July, directing the SSP Srinagar to file an FIR against DySP Yasir Qadri and members of his team on an application of Abdul Rehman Mir, alleging that his son was killed inside his house on July 10.
“In the meantime, there shall be stay of the contempt proceedings directed to be initiated against the SSP, Srinagar and the IGP, Srinagar,” the apex court said after hearing Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, for India and the Additional Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta who appeared for the State and Station House Officer, Police Station Batamaloo.
Rohatgi said an FIR cannot be lodged against police officers for death in police firing as it is done to control a “violent and unruly crowd.”
He contended that since an FIR regarding a stone-pelting incident has already been registered, “second FIR” cannot be lodged in connection with the same.
The J&K high court had said the question of “one occurrence and the second occurrence to say from the same part of transaction is totally unimaginable”.
Regarding first incident based on which FIR (89/2016) was registered, the high court had said, the date of receipt of the report by a police constable is shown as July 10 at 5:20pm while the second occurrence, as per the family, took place at 6:45pm.
“How the second occurrence could be said to be the part of first occurrence is totally bereft of any logic. Least said is better to avoid any prejudice to either of the parties,” the high court had said.
Additional solicitor general of India Tushar Mehta said incidents of “violence and stone pelting were not in national interest” and their modus operandi must be found out.
Mehta said that the “separatists” were openly asking the common people to file cases against police officials and if proceedings are initiated against them then that would demoralise them.
“There must be some humane approach,” the bench said.
According to the police, Mir was killed during protests, but his family contested that he was shot dead by the officer in “cold blood” inside his house.
Meanwhile, a division bench of the high court comprising chief justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magray adjourned by one week the reference sent by the CJM Srinagar, urging it to take action against IGP Kashmir and SSP Srinagar under contempt of courts act, for disobeying orders regarding the registration of the FIR. Both the IGP and the SSP Srinagar were present as the court adjourned after advocate general .
In his application, Abdul Rehman Mir said that he was forced to knock on the court’s door after the Batmaloo SHO refused to register an FIR against the Deputy SP.
He said that on July 10, at about 6:35pm, he along with family members was watching TV when a police party headed by the DySP barged into his house and started smashing window panes and doors.
“(My) wife tried to stop the police official but (he) got infuriated and physically assaulted (her) and hurled invectives,” he said.
Seeing all this, Mir said, his son—Shabir Ahmad—could not bear it and tried to save her mother from the clutches of the official and other police personnel.
“On this the police official went into rage and started beating (my) son and thereafter opened fire. My son died on the spot,” he said. Mir has charged the DySP of taking law into his hands and exceeded his powers to kill to his son in a “cold blooded murder.”
—With PTI inputs