Lucknow: In a major development in the Pilbhit encounter case, the Allahabad High Court convicted all 43 policemen involved in the case. The High Court sentenced all the culprits to 7 years of rigorous imprisonment under IPC 304 with a fine of Rs 10,000, setting off a trial court’s ruling of life imprisonment for the appellants.
The case pertains to the killings of 10 Sikhs for their alleged involvement in Khalistani activities.
The court of Justice Ramesh Singh and Justice Saroj Yadav sentenced all 43 policemen of the Uttar Pradesh Police involved in the fake encounter.
On the intervening night of 12-13 July 1991, three incidents at three different places i.e. Neoria, Bilsanda, and Puranpur, in District Pilibhit took place between the alleged Sikh terrorists and the police of district Pilibhit, in which ten alleged militants were killed. In this regard, cumulatively 13 FIRs were lodged in police station Neoria, Bilsanda and Puranpur of district Pilibhit.
“The trial Court believed on coming to the conclusion that ten Sikh youths were killed in a fake encounter after being kidnapped from the pilgrims’ bus by the police personnel/appellants,” read the trial court’s order.
The judgement from the High Court stressed that the alleged terrorists could have been arrested and put to trial.
“It is not the duty of the police officers to kill the accused merely because he/she is a dreaded criminal. Undoubtedly, the police have to arrest the accused and put them up for a trial,” the court noted.
The court also highlighted that the said case did fall under 304 IPC ie culpable homicide.
“No doubt, appellants exceeded the powers given to them by law, and they caused the death of the deceased by doing an act which they, in good faith, believed to be lawful and necessary for the due discharge of their duty. In such circumstances, the offence that was committed by the appellants, was culpable homicide not amounting to murder punishable under Section 304 of I.P.C,” the court added.
The 2016 order of the Trial Court was challenged by all the appellants in the High Court Lucknow Bench, on which today the High Court convicted all the accused and sentenced them to 7 years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000.