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Are the 2020 encounters justified?

Encounters in 2020

Encounter cases are very common in India. Not only the encounter has been spreading widely over the years, but it is continuous from our past.

Talking about some of the recent and most famous encounters we will have cases that are -

Vikas Dubey's and his friends Encounter, Hyderabad Encounter, Ishrat Jahan and many more.

Provision of Encounter in law

The demand for immediate killing of the accused from all corners of the country created public opinion to abandon the rule of law (Article 14) which causes the encounter.

The police force has the right to injure or kill an offender for the sole and sole purpose of self-defense or whether it is imminent necessary for the main means of peace and order. However, nothing should be done to settle individual quarrels or with the motives of any preceding genocide, which may be evident from the facts of each case.

Although, there is no such provision in Indian law which directly authorizes the encounter of criminals. However, there are certain enabling provisions which may be interpreted differently to vest police officers with certain powers to deal with criminals.

Under Section 96 of the Indian Penal Code, every human being has the right to personal Défense which is a natural and inherent right.

Similarly, section 100 of the Indian Penal Code, exception 3 of section 300 of the IPC, section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, etc., have similar provisions in relation to the investigation of cases of extra-judicial murder and convicted homicide.


There is a provision prescribed by law for criminal investigation which is implied as a right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. It is fundamental, non-derogatory and available to everyone. Even the state cannot violate that right.

It is therefore the responsibility of the police, as state officials, to follow constitutional principles and uphold the right to life of every person whether innocent or criminal.

The NHRC guidelines in 2010 highlight that if the use of force cannot be justified and the death falls outside the jurisdiction of the above-mentioned reasons, it is a crime and the police officer is responsible for the guilty of culpable homicide (such an act will be held guilty for the resulting death of a person but is not held to commit murder).

The Police personnel will be charged under section 299 of the Indian Penal Code for culpable homicide and the compensation must be granted to the kin of the deceased in case the police officers are prosecuted on the basis of investigation.

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