It is a "failure of the institution" that a person like Vikas Dubey got bail despite several cases lodged against him, the Supreme Court Monday said on Monday, while asking the Uttar Pradesh government to consider having a former apex court judge and a retired police officer in the inquiry committee probing the encounter of the gangster.
"This is the failure of the institution and the person, who should have been behind the bars, got bail," a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said, adding, "We are appalled to the fact that a person like Vikas Dubey got the bail despite so many cases."
The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, told the Uttar Pradesh government that they have to "uphold rule of law".
The top court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for Uttar Pradesh, to look into the aspect if the chief minister and deputy chief minister of the state have made certain statements and then something has followed.
"You as a state have to uphold the rule of law. It is your duty to do so," the top court said while hearing a batch of pleas seeking court-monitored probe into the encounters of Dubey and his alleged associates.
The bench also sought a report on the court orders which were passed in cases related to Dubey.
The bench said it cannot spare a sitting top court judge to become a part of the inquiry committee.
The bench suggested changes in the inquiry panel and sought a draft resolution from the state government by July 22.
The Uttar Pradesh government, in an affidavit filed in the apex court in the matter, has said that it has appointed a judicial panel of Justice (retd) Shashi Kant Agarwal, a former high court judge, as a single member commission of inquiry to probe into the encounters of Dubey and his alleged associates.
During the hearing on Monday, Mehta told the apex court that he will produce a draft notification with regard to the changes suggested in the inquiry panel by July 22.
Mehta said law has been set in motion in the matter and the inquiry has started.
Referring to the records, he said Dubey was on parole and he was facing cases in 65 FIRs.
Eight policemen, including DSP Devendra Mishra, were ambushed in Bikru village in Chaubeypur area of Kanpur when they were going to arrest Dubey and fell to bullets fired from rooftops shortly after midnight on July 3.
Dubey was killed in an encounter in the morning of July 10 when a police vehicle carrying him from Ujjain to Kanpur met with an accident and he tried to escape from the spot in Bhauti area, the police had said.
Prior to Dubey's encounter, five of his alleged associated were killed in separate encounters.
During the arguments, Mehta said that eight policemen were killed and their body mutilated when they had gone to raid Dubey's place.
"I am not justifying as to what happened later," he added.
The bench observed that there was big difference between the last year's Telangana case, in which four accused in gang rape and murder case of a veterinary doctor were killed in an encounter, and the incident involving Dubey.
"You have to be very careful and you have to follow the law," the bench said, and asked Uttar Pradesh to add a former apex court judge and a retired police officer to the inquiry committee.
"We don't want people to go to Allahabad and conduct an inquiry there in pandemic times," the bench said, while observing that locally available former judge could be a part of the inquiry panel.
One of the petitioners in the matter requested the bench not to allow Uttar Pradesh government to choose the members of the inquiry committee.
"Are you saying a former Supreme Court judge and former High Court judge are state sponsored?," the bench said, adding, "This attitude of mud slinging at all must stop some time."
In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the state government has said that police party escorting Dubey from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh to Kanpur had to 'fire back in self-defence' as he had tried to escape and was killed.
The UP government has constituted a three-member Special Investigation Team, headed by UP additional chief secretary Sanjay Bhoosreddy on July 11, to look into the crimes committed by the dreaded gangster and the alleged collusion between Dubey, police and politicians, the affidavit has said.
"The only option available to the escort party, under the circumstances was to fire back in self-defence," said Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Hitesh Chandra Awasthy, in the affidavit filed on behalf of the state, in the matter.
The top police officer has denied that Dubey had surrendered at Ujjain and said that the accused who was on the run was identified at the Mahakaal Temple by the Samiti authorities as well as the policemen at the temple premises.