Court stays disposal of Maoists’ bodies till November 4

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Petition by relatives of two of the killed says police failed to follow Supreme Court guidelines on investigating encounter killings

The District and Sessions Court here on Thursday stayed the disposal of the bodies of Maoists killed in encounters with the police in the Attappady forests on Monday and Tuesday.

Principal Sessions Judge K.P. Indira ordered that the bodies of Manivasakam, Karthi, Rema and Aravind should not be cremated or buried until November 4. She issued the order following a petition by close relatives of Karthi and Manivasakam.

Karthi’s brother and Manivasakam’s sister moved the District and Sessions Court here pointing out that the police had violated the Supreme Court guidelines to have been followed in the event of an encounter killing.

16-point guideline

The Supreme Court in 2014 had issued a 16-point guideline “to be followed in the matters of investigating police encounters in the cases of death as the standard procedure for thorough, effective and independent investigation.” The guideline includes a mandatory magisterial inquiry into encounter deaths and informing the relatives of the dead without any delay. The Supreme Court stipulates that the police should immediately inform the National Human Rights Commission or the State Human Rights Commission about the encounter death.

The guideline also says that the police officers must surrender their weapons for investigation, subject to the rights under Article 20 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court Bench of the then Chief Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice Rohinton Nariman had framed the guideline with the intention of cracking down on increasing fake encounter killings by the police in the country.

It was a plea by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) that made the apex court issue the guideline.

The relatives of the Maoists complained that the police had failed to comply with the guideline, and demanded action against the guilty.

Plea posted on Nov. 2

The court also posted the petition to November 2 for detailed examination. By that time, the postmortem examination reports are expected.

The Sessions Court will dispose of the complaint only after examining the post-mortem reports.

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