News By/Courtesy: kriti kaushal | 03 Sep 2020 16:42pm IST


  • encounter
  • supreme court
  • This article does not intend to hurt the sentiments of any individual, community, sect, or religion etcetera. This article is based purely on the author’s personal views and opinions in the exercise o

The term encounter came into existence during the late 20th century. Encounter means extrajudicial killing by the police and the armed forces. It is supposed to be done in self-defence. In the 1990s and in the mid-2000s the Mumbai police used encounter killings to attack the cities underworld gangs and the practice spread to other large cities


Why is an encounter so controversial?

It is because the high chances of the increase in power of police might itself play the role of gangsters and become murderer, covering it under the name of encounter. The increased acceptance amongst people for such killings clearly shows the distrust of common people for the judicial system. The rule of law would eventually make no sense to the people and will result in distress.


What is the legality of encounter?

There is no provision in Indian law directly authorizing encounters of criminals but there are certain enabling provisions which may be construed to vest police with certain powers to deal with criminals. However, section 96 of IPC, provides the power of self-defence to every person and section 46 of CrPC and enables the police to use reasonable force to arrest the criminal.


How did encounter become a culture?

It is believed that it's only because of the encounter culture Mumbai and other big city has been freed from the gangsters. The first encounter killing was recorded by Mumbai police of Manya surve's encounter. The rate of encounter killings increased in late 1980 and further raised after the 1993 Mumbai bombings. A total of 622 alleged criminals were killed in police encounters from 1980 to 2004.

The Supreme Court on encounter:

In 2012 Supreme Court called encounters "state-sponsored terrorism".

In Prakash Kadam's case 2011, Supreme Court observed encounters to be cold-blooded murders.

In PUCL vs. the State of Maharashtra, the Supreme Court had issued 16 point guidelines for the same.

In 2016 extrajudicial killings in Manipur, Supreme Court stated that there could be no absolute immunity for the police and however they have to go through a trial.

Encounters that turned out to be fake:

  1. Ranbir case 2009- where an MBA student was killed by police by representing him as a terrorist. 17 plus official were convicted by the Supreme Court for fake encounter and imprisoned for life.

  2. Phillibit case -10 people were killed in Punjab by the police and to cover this encounter the police said that they were Khalistani. More than 40 officials were convicted.

Famous encounters in which Court gave clean chit:

  1. The Batla House encounter 2008 by police had encountered the terrorist hidden in Batla House, Delhi. Supreme Court has given the officials clean chit as it considered that this was the genuine encounter.

  2. Bhopal jailbreak encounter 2016, where the under trial prisoners were trying to escape from jail. They were alleged terrorist. The Supreme Court has given clean chit to the officials.


Under trial and the most questioned encounters

  1. The Hyderabad encounter 2019 in which the police encountered the rape accused while recreating the crime scene.

  2. Ishrat Jahan case 2004, where a 19-year-old was encountered along with the other three was suspected of being terrorists.

  3. Rangoli encounter’s 2008, where three men were gunned down as they were accused of throwing acid on a college girl.


This article does not intend to hurt the sentiments of any individual, community, sect, or religion, etcetera. This article is based purely on the author’s personal opinion and views in the exercise of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(A) and other related laws being enforced in India for the time being.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 04 Sep 2020 12:28pm IST

Tags : encounter, law, judiciary , india

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