‘5 judges suffering with Covid’, SC to hear plea for probe into Atiq-Ashraf murders on Friday

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea seeking a probe into the killings of gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf on Friday due to the unavailability of five judges as they are suffering from Covid-19.

The plea sought a direction for setting up of an expert committee headed by a former apex court judge to investigate the April 15 killings.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, during the mentioning of cases, informed the lawyers that five judges of the apex court are suffering with Covid.

“Since five judges are not available, some cases in which dates were given have not been listed. We will try to list this on Friday,” he said.

Advocate Vishal Tiwari moved the apex court seeking an independent expert committee and also sought an inquiry into the 183 encounters that have taken place in Uttar Pradesh since 2017.

Tiwari mentioned the plea for hearing on Monday before the bench, also comprising Justice P.S. Narasimha.

Atiq and Ashraf Ahmed were shot dead on April 15 by three assailants, posing as journalists, while they were being escorted by police personnel to a medical college in Prayagraj for a check up.

The plea sought guidelines to safeguard the rule of law by constituting an independent expert committee under the chairmanship of a former Supreme Court judge and also to inquire into the 183 encounters which had occurred since 2017 as stated by Uttar Pradesh Special Director General of Police (Law and Order).

The petitioner also sought a probe into the murders under police custody and stressed that “such actions by police are a severe threat to democracy and rule of law and lead to police state”.

The plea said extra judicial killings or fake police encounters do not have a place under the law and further argued that in a democratic society the police cannot be allowed to become a mode of delivering final justice, as the power of punishment is only vested in the judiciary.


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