Judicial killings refer to the execution of individuals who have been sentenced
to death by a court of law. The practice of judicial killings is controversial
and highly debated, with many arguing that it violates human rights and is a
form of state-sanctioned murder. Proponents of judicial killings argue that it
is necessary as a form of punishment for heinous crimes.
Many countries around the world have abolished the death penalty, while others
continue to practice it. In some countries, judicial killings are carried out
after a lengthy appeals process, while in others they are carried out relatively
Critics of judicial killings argue that they are often carried out in a manner
that is cruel and inhumane, and that there is a risk of executing innocent
people. They also argue that the death penalty disproportionately affects
marginalised communities and those who cannot afford quality legal
Proponents of judicial killings argue that they serve as a deterrent to crime
and that they provide justice to victims and their families. They also argue
that the appeals process ensures that those who are executed are guilty beyond a
Overall, the practice of judicial killings is highly controversial and raises
complex ethical, moral, and legal questions.
Extrajudicial killings refer to the killing of a person by government
authorities or agents outside the legal system. It involves the deprivation of
an individual's right to due process and a fair trial. In other words, it is a
killing that occurs outside of the legal framework and is not authorised by a
court or law enforcement agency.
Extrajudicial killings are illegal and violate both national and international
human rights law.
They are often associated with authoritarian regimes, oppressive governments,
and countries with a weak rule of law. These killings can occur during the
course of arrests, searches, or other law enforcement operations, or they can be
carried out by non-state actors such as vigilantes or organised crime groups.
Extrajudicial killings are a serious human rights violation and a threat to the
rule of law.
They undermine the trust between citizens and the state and can lead to
increased levels of violence and instability. Governments have a responsibility
to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for extrajudicial killings
and to ensure that such killings do not occur in the future.
HISTORY BEHIND EXTRA- JUDICIAL KILLINGS
The practice of extrajudicial killings is not new and has been used throughout
history by various actors, including governments, non-state actors, and
individuals. However, the term "extrajudicial killing" itself emerged in the
mid-20th century in the context of human rights abuses committed by
During the Cold War, extrajudicial killings were used as a tool of political
repression by both the United States and Soviet Union, as well as their allies
and proxies. Latin America, in particular, was a hotbed of extrajudicial
killings, with military dictatorships in countries such as Chile, Argentina, and
Brazil carrying out thousands of killings of political dissidents and suspected
Extra-judicial killings have been a longstanding issue in India, particularly in
areas affected by insurgency, communal violence, and organised crime. The use of
extrajudicial killings in India dates back to the colonial era, where British
colonial authorities used it as a tool to suppress nationalist movements.
After independence, extrajudicial killings continued to be used by the police
and security forces, particularly in areas affected by insurgency and terrorism.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the state of Punjab was a hotspot of extrajudicial
killings, with police and security forces accused of carrying out thousands of
extrajudicial killings in the name of countering the Sikh separatist movement.
Similarly, in the 1990s, the state of Jammu and Kashmir saw a surge in
extrajudicial killings, with security forces accused of carrying out fake
encounters and other forms of extrajudicial killings in the name of countering
Over the years, human rights organisations, civil society groups, and the media
have highlighted the issue of extrajudicial killings in India and called for
greater accountability and transparency from the police and security forces.
Despite these efforts, extrajudicial killings continue to be reported in various
parts of the country.
The use of extrajudicial killings undermines the rule of law and erodes public
trust in the state and its institutions. There is a need for the Indian
government to take concrete steps to address this issue and ensure that those
responsible for extrajudicial killings are held accountable.
EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS AS A BANE
Extra-judicial cases, also known as "fake encounters," have been a bane in India
for several decades. They are a serious violation of human rights and undermine
the rule of law and the justice system. The police and security forces in India
are often accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings in the name of
countering terrorism, insurgency, and organised crime.
These killings are often carried out in a manner that violates due process, with
the victims being denied the right to a fair trial and the presumption of
innocence. In many cases, the police and security forces have been found to
plant evidence and fabricate stories to justify their actions.
The problem of extra-judicial cases is particularly acute in areas affected by
insurgency and terrorism, such as Jammu and Kashmir and the north-eastern
states. However, it is not limited to these areas, and there have been reports
of extrajudicial killings from all parts of the country.
Extra-judicial cases have a devastating impact on the victims' families and the
communities they belong to. They erode public trust in the state and its
institutions, and create a culture of fear and mistrust.
The Indian government and the judiciary have taken several steps to address the
issue of extra-judicial cases. The Supreme Court of India has issued several
guidelines and directions to ensure that police and security forces follow due
process and respect human rights. The National Human Rights Commission has also
been active in investigating cases of extra-judicial killings and recommending
action against those responsible.
However, there is still a long way to go in terms of ensuring accountability and
transparency in cases of extra-judicial killings. The police and security forces
need to be held accountable for their actions, and there is a need for greater
public awareness and advocacy on this issue.
EXTRA JUDICIAL CASES AS A BOON IN INDIA
It is not appropriate to view extra-judicial cases as a "boon" in India or any
other country. Extra-judicial cases or "fake encounters" are a serious violation
of human rights, and they erode the rule of law and undermine public trust in
the justice system.
While there may be instances where police and security forces may feel compelled
to take extreme action in the face of terrorism or organised crime, this does
not justify extrajudicial killings. The use of lethal force should be a last
resort, and any such action should be subject to judicial oversight and
Furthermore, the use of extrajudicial killings can be counterproductive, as it
can lead to increased resentment and mistrust among communities affected by such
actions. It can also serve as a recruitment tool for extremist groups and fuel a
cycle of violence and retaliation.
It is essential that the Indian government and law enforcement agencies uphold
the rule of law and ensure that those responsible for extrajudicial killings are
held accountable. This will require a concerted effort to strengthen the justice
system, improve training for police and security forces, and enhance public
trust in the state's ability to provide security and protection to its citizens.
LANDMARK CASES RELATED TO EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLING IN INDIA
- ISHRAT JAHAN CASE
The alleged extrajudicial killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others in 2004 by
the Gujarat Police. The police claimed that the four were members of a terrorist
group and were planning to assassinate the then Chief Minister of Gujarat,
Narendra Modi. However, an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation
(CBI) found no evidence to support this claim and concluded that the killing was
a staged encounter.
- VIKAS DUBEY v. STATE OF UP
The Vikas Dubey case is a high-profile case of extra-judicial killing in India.
Vikas Dubey was a notorious gangster and political figure in the state of Uttar
Pradesh. On July 3, 2020, a police team went to arrest him in connection with a
murder case. However, Dubey and his associates ambushed the police team, killing
eight policemen. The encounter was widely criticized, with many alleging that it
was a staged encounter or "fake encounter."
The encounter was investigated by
the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court, which
submitted its report in January 2021. The report concluded that the encounter
was "prima facie" not genuine, and there was a "clear case of collusion" between Dubey and the police.
- KHATRI AND ORS V. STATE OF BIHAR
This case is another notable case of extra-judicial killing in India. In this
case, three people, including a woman, were killed by the police in an alleged
encounter in Bihar in 1996. The police claimed that the three were members of a
criminal gang and were killed in an exchange of fire. The case was subsequently
taken up by the Supreme Court of India, which in 2004, delivered its verdict,
convicting the police officers involved in the encounter of murder and
conspiracy. The Supreme Court also ordered compensation to be paid to the
families of the victims.
- PRIYANKA REDDY RAPE CASE
The police claimed that the men were involved in a gang rape and murder case and
were killed in an exchange of fire. However, an inquiry by the National Human
Rights Commission (NHRC) found that the encounter was staged, and the men were
killed in cold blood.
- PUCL v. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
The PUCL v. State of Maharashtra case is a landmark case in India, which dealt
with the issue of extra-judicial killings in the state of Maharashtra. In this
case, the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) filed a writ petition in the
Supreme Court of India, seeking an investigation into alleged extra-judicial
killings by the police in the state.
The petition alleged that the police in Maharashtra had a pattern of carrying
out extra-judicial killings of suspected criminals and militants, in violation
of their constitutional rights. The petition also alleged that there was a lack
of accountability and impunity for the police officers involved in such
The Supreme Court, in its judgment in September 2014, upheld the petition and
ordered a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be set up to investigate the
alleged extra-judicial killings in the state. The court also directed the state
government to provide compensation to the families of the victims.
These cases and others like them highlight the need for greater accountability
and transparency in cases of extra-judicial killings in India. The police and
security forces need to be held accountable for their actions, and there is a
need for greater public awareness and advocacy on this issue.
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS IN INDIA
Extra-judicial killings are illegal and unconstitutional in India. The Indian
Constitution provides for the right to life and personal liberty as a
fundamental right, and extra-judicial killings violate this right. Article 21 of
the Constitution guarantees every person the right to life and liberty, and it
cannot be taken away except according to the procedure established by law.
The Supreme Court of India has repeatedly emphasised the importance of upholding
the right to life and personal liberty of every citizen and has held that
extra-judicial killings are a violation of the fundamental rights of the
victims. The court has also held that such killings are a grave abuse of power
and a threat to the rule of law.
In cases where the police have used force in self-defence or in the defence of
others, the use of force must be proportional to the threat posed by the
offender, and the police must follow the prescribed legal procedures. The use of
excessive force or the intentional killing of a person in custody is illegal and
There have been several cases in India where extra-judicial killings have been
challenged in the courts, and the courts have consistently held that such
killings are illegal and violative of the constitutional rights of the victims.
The courts have also emphasised the importance of holding police officers
accountable for their actions in cases of extra-judicial killings to ensure that
justice is delivered to the victims and their families.
The provisions grant the arrested persons certain with extra judicial killings
The rights of arrested persons in India are guaranteed by the Constitution of
India, as well as various laws and legal provisions. Here are the key rights of
arrested persons in India with the relevant legal provisions:
- Right to be informed of the grounds of arrest:
Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India provides that every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be informed of the grounds of their arrest and the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of their choice.
- Right to legal representation:
Section 41D of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) provides that an arrested person has the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of their choice.
- Right to remain silent:
Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India provides that no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against themselves.
- Right to medical examination:
Section 54 of the CrPC provides that an arrested person shall be examined by a medical officer within 24 hours of arrest.
- Right to be produced before a magistrate:
Section 57 of the CrPC provides that an arrested person shall be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court.
- Right to bail:
Section 436 of the CrPC provides that an arrested person has the right to apply for bail, except in cases where bail is specifically excluded by law.
- Right to fair trial:
Article 21 of the Constitution of India provides that every person has the right to a fair and impartial trial. The Criminal Procedure Code and the Indian Evidence Act also provide for various procedural safeguards to ensure a fair trial for the accused.
It is the duty of the law enforcement authorities to respect these rights of the
arrested persons and ensure that they are not violated. In case of violation of
these rights, the arrested person or their legal representative can approach the
appropriate judicial forum for relief.
OVERALL ANALYSIS OF EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS IN INDIA
Police encounters, also known as police shootings or extrajudicial killings,
refer to the use of lethal force by police officers against criminal suspects.
In India, the issue of police encounters has been a topic of debate and
controversy. While police officers argue that encounters are necessary to combat
crime and maintain law and order, human rights activists and civil society
organisations argue that these encounters violate the human rights of suspects
and are often used to cover up extrajudicial killings.
On the positive side, some argue that police encounters can act as a deterrent
to criminals and reduce crime rates. They argue that encounters are often
carried out in high-risk situations where the suspects pose a threat to public
safety, and police officers have no other option but to use lethal force. In
such situations, encounters can prevent the loss of innocent lives and maintain
However, on the negative side, critics argue that encounters are often carried
out without following due process of law and that suspects are denied the right
to a fair trial. In some cases, encounters are used to silence political
opponents or to cover up the involvement of police officers in criminal
activities. Furthermore, there are concerns that encounters are used to target
marginalised communities, such as Muslims, Dalits, and Adivasis, who are often
perceived as criminals.
Overall, police encounters in India are a complex issue that requires a nuanced
approach. While encounters may be necessary in some situations, they should be
carried out within the framework of the law, and the rights of suspects should
be protected. There should be mechanisms in place to ensure accountability for
police officers who carry out encounters and to provide justice to the families
Furthermore, efforts should be made to address the root causes of crime, such as
poverty and inequality, to reduce the need for encounters. Ultimately, the goal
should be to ensure public safety and protect human rights, and any measures
taken in the name of law and order should be consistent with these principles.
WAY FORWARD FROM HERE ON
Extra judicial killings refer to killings carried out by law enforcement
officials without following due process of law. The issue of extra judicial
killings is a serious concern in India, and steps need to be taken to address
it. Here are some steps that can be taken to reduce extra judicial killings in
- Ensure accountability:
The first and foremost step is to ensure accountability for law enforcement officials who carry out extra judicial killings. There should be a system in place to hold these officials accountable for their actions.
- Strict adherence to the law:
The law enforcement officials should be trained to follow due process of law while carrying out their duties. There should be strict guidelines and protocols in place to ensure that the law is followed in letter and spirit.
- Use of technology:
The use of technology can be helpful in reducing extra judicial killings. For example, body cameras can be used to record the interactions between law enforcement officials and suspects. This can help ensure that the officials follow due process of law and can also serve as evidence in case of any misconduct.
- Sensitization of law enforcement officials:
Law enforcement officials should be sensitized to the issue of extra judicial killings. They should be educated about the importance of following due process of law and the consequences of extra judicial killings.
- Engage with civil society:
Civil society can play an important role in reducing extra judicial killings. Engaging with civil society organisations can help create awareness about the issue and can also provide support to victims of extra judicial killings.
- Strengthen the judiciary:
The judiciary plays a critical role in ensuring that law enforcement officials follow due process of law. Strengthening the judiciary can help ensure that justice is served in cases of extra judicial killings.
- Review and reform of laws:
Laws related to law enforcement and criminal justice should be reviewed and reformed as needed to ensure that they are in line with international human rights standards.
In conclusion, extra judicial killings are a serious violation of human rights
and have no place in a democratic society. The issue of extra judicial killings
in India needs to be addressed urgently, and steps need to be taken to prevent
such incidents from occurring in the future.
This can be achieved by ensuring accountability of law enforcement officials,
strict adherence to the law, use of technology, sensitization of law enforcement
officials, engagement with civil society, strengthening the judiciary, and
reviewing and reforming laws. It is essential to ensure that all individuals are
treated fairly and that the rule of law is upheld to prevent any further loss of
innocent lives due to extra judicial killings.