SC snubs state on Shopian arrests

The apex court has disposed the special leave petition with the direction that the case would now be heard by the session’s judge at Shopian on Monday. State government has been asked to file its objections before this court and the Kashmir Bar Association has assured the apex court that it would not stop any of its members from appearing on behalf of the accused.
The apex court directions created problems for the state government on other fronts as well. During the day the government issued a statement claiming the dismissal of the bail application as authentication of state’s decision to arrest the four police officials. Somehow the apex court took note of it as a result of which strings were pulled. The government withdrew the statement in the evening and instead circulated the actual order of the apex court.
The state government in its affidavit had justified the high court’s ‘decisive intervention’ saying that it actually helped in bringing situation under control. The affidavit said the then SP and the SHO failed to seize the clothes of the two deceased women. “Therefore, important clues that could have been obtained from their clothes of the deceased women were lost,” it added. “It is significant to point out that due to the conduct of these officials, unrest in the entire state of J&K has been witnessed for quite long and only after the intervention by the high court, the situation has come under control”.
“The conduct of some of the police officials during the search process and subsequent manipulation of police station records gave rise to strong suspicion that the actual facts were being suppressed. The conduct of police officers also indicated that there could have been an attempt on the part of some of the police officers to destroy the evidence in furtherance of criminal conspiracy”, the affidavit further said.
However, the apex court on July 20 stayed the narco-analysis test on the two police officials. On July 23, it disposed off the SLP and shifted the entire case to Sessions Court Shopian with a direction that the bail application should be decided on merits without getting influenced by the earlier High Court order.
The apex court bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam observed that the there is no evidence against anybody. It wanted “proper investigations’. The bench disagreed with the J&K government counsel Harish N Salve that there was enough evidence against the two police officers including that of the destruction of evidence.

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