Extra-Judicial Killing: Real or Staged?

Nitish Shakya and Shristi Sinha
The ICFAI University, Dehradun, India

Volume III, Issue IV, 2020

Primarily, encounters were rare, they were used as a way devised to affect with complex situations and as a way of self-defence. However, in the 90s century the frequent and uncontrolled rise in extrajudicial killings by police or military force created grave doubts regarding the authenticity and purpose or intention behind the encounters. In between 1990s and mid-2000s, the Mumbai Police in India used extrajudicial killings to cripple the underworld in the city and break down uncontrolled extortion rackets. Police officers, who referred to as “Encounter Specialists”, believed that these killings in delivering speedy justice to the society. From that period till early 2003, the police killed about 1200 alleged criminals.

Though police or military officers were firm in its stand and supported encounters widely, various human rights activists, social welfare associations and relatives of deceased strongly opposed the encounters. They believe that encounters are a clear violation of human rights and the constitutional right to life of the person under article 21 which provides protection of life and personal liberty.

The research includes a detailed comparison of extrajudicial killing or ‘encounter’ and fake ‘encounter”. Further, the study discusses the justifications given by the police or military officer in favour of the extrajudicial killing and laws applicable in India, through which police officer have vested some power for their safety at the time of arresting a criminal. This paper also seeks to present in brief, the judicial and legal approaches regarding the legality of encounters.  

“The Police has not come out of its colonial image. Despite 6 decades of independence the Police is largely considered as a tool of harassment, oppression and surely not considered a friend of the public”. Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar.