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‘These petitions should never be entertained’: Gujarat govt to SC on PILs seeking probe into ‘fake encounters’

New Delhi, Jan 18 : The Gujarat government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the public interest litigations (PILs) seeking a probe into the alleged fake encounters in the state from 2002 to 2006 should never be entertained and the petitioners raising the issue should be called to explain their “selective public interest”.

“Why ‘selective public interest’? Why Gujarat and some particular number of years? These sponsored petitions should never be entertained,” said Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, opposing the two separate PILs filed in 2007 by senior journalist B.G. Verghese, who died in 2014, and noted lyricist Javed Akhtar and Shabnam Hashmi.

On the other hand, senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, contended that prima facie evidence was found in 3 out of 17 alleged fake encounters cases investigated by Justice H.S. Bedi-led panel and its report should not be made “meaningless”.

“Now we have a report. What is to be done with the report?” said Ramakrishnan, pressing for action against errant police officials identified in the 2019 report given by the court-appointed monitoring committee.

In 2012, the Supreme Court had appointed former apex court judge Justice Bedi to head the monitoring committee constituted for overseeing the investigations by special task force (STF) into instances of alleged fake encounters in Gujarat.

Without entering into the merits of the arguments, a bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and Sandeep Mehta said: “We will hear it some other day. It is required to be heard. We will take it after two weeks.”

In an earlier hearing, Mehta had said that there are serious doubts about the locus and motive of the petitioners and these are selective public interest litigations. He had said that petitioners were not concerned about encounters, which occurred in other states but they are only focused on Gujarat.