Delhi HC directs UP Police to hand over autopsy video of farmer who died during R-Day tractor rally
Navreet Singh’s family have alleged that the 25-year-old was shot by policemen, based on eyewitness’ accounts reported by a section of the media.
The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Uttar Pradesh Police to hand over the original X-Ray plate and the autopsy video of the farmer who died during the tractor rally on January 26, reported Bar and Bench.
The family of 25-year-old Navreet Singh had moved the High Court on February 10 seeking a court-monitored Special Investigation Team inquiry into the death of the farmer. The police have claimed that Singh died because his tractor overturned. However, in its petition, the grandfather of the deceased had said that according to eyewitness’ accounts reported by a section of the media, Singh was driving his tractor when he was allegedly shot by policemen, due to which he lost control of the vehicle that collided with some barricades and overturned.
On Thursday, a single-judge Bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna directed that the original documents sought should be handed over to the investigating officer concerned at 2 pm the next day. The x-ray plate and autopsy video should be retained by the Delhi Police in safe custody, according to the court’s order. The postmortem examination of the deceased was conducted in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district.
Senior Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi Police, said that his clients do not have any problem in submitting the autopsy video and inquest report to the grandfather of the deceased farmer. He told the High Court that the Delhi Police also did not have any objections to the family or the counsel of the deceased farmer visiting the investigating officer to see the CCTV footage of the place of incident.
The family of the deceased had claimed that the police did not allow them to see the CCTV footage of the incident citing technical difficulties. They also alleged that the police also did not collect time-sensitive material evidence from the site, which were allowed to be erased and destroyed.
During the hearing, Mehra also alleged that the Delhi Police have made several requests to the Uttar Pradesh Police with regard to the evidence sought by the family but they have not handed over the reports, according to Live Law. The counsel claimed that he was facing non-cooperation in the process from a superintendent of police in Uttar Pradesh.
Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the family of the farmer, agreed with Mehra, saying that they have not got due cooperation from the UP Police.
Standing Counsel Garima Prashad, representing the UP Police and the chief medical officer, however, denied this claim, saying that her clients were ready and willing to anytime provide the reports.
“The only things not provided are the X-Ray plate, that is not a report, it’s a plate, lying with the hospital, and the original recording of the postmortem [examination],” she said. “We are ready to provide the same anytime”.
Citing an earlier judgement, Grover argued that the autopsy report and video were crucial evidence in the case and were needed by the family to arrive at any conclusion.
The UP Police’s counsel said her clients only refused to hand over the reports. “There was no refusal for production,” she said. “If appropriate orders are passed, we have no objection to handing over.”
Noting Prashad’s remarks, the court ordered the UP police to provide the original autopsy video, the inquest report and the X-Ray plate. The matter will be taken up for hearing again on March 17.