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Vikas Dubey is a name which has become a sensation of terror in the recent past with synonyms or titles such as ‘gangster’, ‘murderer’, ‘godfather of Uttar Pradesh’, etc. being affiliated with him. It was just a couple of weeks ago, when the Indian Media flashed our TV and mobile screens with only one name – the gangster, the daredevil, another name for death ‘VIKAS DUBEY’.
This story came to light on the night of 3rd July 2020, and ended up with the so-called “encounter” of the protagonist ‘Dubey’ within a week thereafter. This article aims at the discussing whether the retribution theory of punishment and “vengeance” have become synonymous with this country’s law enforcement agencies. This incident, like many others of the past, is putting questions on the judicial system of this country asking if ‘the protectors of law are adamant on breaking it, then who is responsible to protect and maintain law and order in this nation’.
Facts of Incident
This incident set in motion a series of events which started on the night of 3rd July, 2020. According to the reports, the Police Authorities went to Vikas Dubey’s house on this night, to arrest him to investigate a case for Attempt to Murder having been filed against him. In response to the approaching police authorities, Dubey’s affiliates opened fire on the Police, killing 8 policemen and injuring several others.
In response to this incident, the concerned authorities including the district administration of Kanpur rushed to the gangster’s residence and demolished it completely, including his trucks and other vehicles. Thereafter, the gangster was arrested from Madhya Pradesh and on his way back to Kanpur, was killed in an “encounter”, which can be reasonably presumed to have been organized and planned by Police.
Legal Provisions Involved
Following the alleged “encounter”, a plea has been filed in the Supreme Court by Peoples Union for Civil Liberties seeking the intervention of the Special Investigation Team (“SIT”) to investigate the case. The Allahabad High Court has been moved in a PIL for a free, fair and impartial investigation, by the CBI or a SIT, into the entire episode of the demolition of the Late Gangster’s house, followed by the killing of 8 policemen which included a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP).
Adv. Prashant Shukla, the petitioner, says that he wishes to apprise the Court, “about the wrongful, illegal, and arbitrary measures being adopted by the administration and the State authorities while functioning, without any authority of law and due procedure of law.”
The plea avers the fact that “the matter pertains to illegal, wrongful, arbitrary and vengeant act of the State authorities, wherein the house of a wanted and an accused in many cases has been demolished/razed and his cars & tractors have been destroyed by the authorities without following any due procedure of law.” The petitioner also pleads that although wishes his condolences and sympathies to the families of the deceased police personnel, this violent reply by the police administration is not a legal alternative.
The petitioner also asserts that although his client was had over 60 criminal cases pending against him, he had not been convicted in any one of them as yet. He also pointed to the conduct of the media and other authorities presenting his Client in a criminal light. Ultimately, a person is innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt!
It is often said that one has to bear the punishment for all his wrong deeds in this life itself. But what is often not told is that nobody ever suffers alone for his ill-actions. Sometimes your near and dear ones, your family members also have to surpass those hardships and sufferings which are a result of your own deeds. The same was the case with the family members of Vikas Dubey. According to a Hindustan Times report, his mother Sarla Devi said, “the house demolished by the Kanpur administration was her ancestral house”. She added, “I am saddened by this action. It was our ancestral house. The house was built by my husband and father-in-law and not by my son Vikas Dubey. The administration could have demolished Vikas’s properties, not ours.” She further said that she had not met her husband for four months and her relationship with her son Vikas Dubey had been strained, since the police used to continuously question her and her relatives regarding about Dubey’s criminal acts and whereabouts.
It has been argued in the plea itself that the gangster lived in his ancestral home where beside him, his family also resided. In the Police’s attempt to reach a criminal, his family was caused to suffer undue trouble and hardship. Not only is this conduct on the part of the authorities reckless, but it is strictly against the law, since there is no vicarious liability for a criminal act or offence against the parents or family of the criminal. They cannot be allowed to suffer and pay for the acts of the accused.
The last argument advanced by the Petitioner related to the ‘protection of the crime scene’. As per the established norms of investigation, a crime scene must be ‘preserved or prevented from any harm, destruction or contamination’. But in this case, the entire crime scene, ‘instead of being attached and confiscated’ was ‘destroyed by the police themselves’ which definitely creates a doubt as to the intent behind the entire event.
Our society demands and is in a serious need of change in mentality and ideologies. The society should become self-sustainable in not giving shelter to criminals like Vikas Dubey and simultaneously not allow the protectors of the law to remain guilty of such crime as in this case. The present case simply denotes that sometimes, even the ones who were assigned the responsibility to protect the law and maintain order, without any hesitation become the ones to take the laws in their own hands.
The Priyanka Reddy Rape Case, which happened last year can be sought as a perfect example for this proposition. In that case too, a fake encounter was carried out by the Police, and the file was closed marking an end to the criminals. The authorities think that the matter got resolved at a short notice but what is not realized, is that events like these impart a negative image of the Judicial System of the country. In the present case, no matter the crime committed by the gangster was heinous but the response given by the concerned authorities was neither feasible nor acceptable. Therefore, we must urge each one, including the protectors of the law, to have faith in the judicial systemof this country and not to take laws in one’s own hands in the name speedy justice or an act of vengeance.
Author: Mayank Raj Pranav from Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar.
Editor: Astha Garg, Junior Editor, Lexlife India