The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking to dissolve the inquiry commission set up to look into the alleged killing of gangster Vikas Dubey by the Uttar Pradesh Police. The three-member panel is headed by retired Supreme Court Justice BS Chauhan, The Hindu reported.
The top court’s bench, led by Chief Justice SA Bobde, however, laid down safeguards according to which the inquiry commission would conduct the probe.
The petition filed by Mumbai-based Lawyer Ghanshyam Upadhyay had raised questions on Justice Chauhan acting as the head of the commission. Ghanshyam claimed that Chauhan’s relative was part of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling government in Uttar Pradesh. The lawyer cited a news report to claim that the retired Supreme Court judge’s younger brother, Virender Singh, is a BJP member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council, according to The Hindustan Times.
During the hearing on the matter on August 11, Bobde said that judges, especially retired ones, cannot be called biased just because their relatives are members of a political party in power.
“Is any of Justice Chauhan’s relative connected with the encounter or the enquiry….Is belonging to a political party an illegal act?” Bobde asked. “There are many judges whose fathers or uncles are Members of Parliament. Are they all corrupt?”
“We will not allow you to cast aspersions on a former judge of this court based on a newspaper report,” the chief justice said.
Ghanshyam had also given suggestions for replacing Justice Chauhan if his petition was accepted.
On July 22, the Supreme Court had approved the draft notification by the Uttar Pradesh government to include Chauhan and former state Director General of Police KL Gupta in the inquiry committee for Dubey’s killing.
On July 20, the Supreme Court had ordered the Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttar Pradesh to expand the committee, to include a former judge of the court and a retired director general of police.
The committee is also investigating how Dubey was let out on bail or parole despite 65 criminal cases pending against him. “Letting Dubey out on bail is the most important factor to probe and it led to all these consequences,” the court said.
Dubey was the main accused in the murder of eight Uttar Pradesh police officers in a shootout in Kanpur’s Bikru village on July 3. The gangster was arrested in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain city, and was killed in police custody on July 10 while allegedly attempting to escape.