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Is Law Taken Into Hands By Police By Encounter Killing Of Criminals? Is Law Taken Into Hands By Police By Encounter Killing Of Criminals?

Bronze medal Reporter Names Posted 1 Aug 2020
Is Law Taken Into Hands By Police By Encounter Killing Of Criminals?

Encounter as we know is during a face-off between police and criminals wherein causing the death of the criminal while trying to arrest a criminal. Recently, the topic of encounter or extra-judicial killings is in the news regarding the death of criminal Vikas Dubey which has raised the question of police taking the law into their hands by encounter killing of criminals.

Encounter By Police

It has to be noted that the top Court has provided guidelines in this regard but then, encounters did occur. Then again, it is to be noticed that when a criminal is going to be arrested by the police then attempting to escape or tries to attack or shoots then the police has to do encounter for self-defence.

When self-defence comes, there are sections in the Indian Penal Code which are Section 100, Section 97, Section 102. Section 46 of the code of Criminal Procedure where police can use force which can even cause killing of accused when the accused is to be arrested if the crime done by accused is of such that the offence committed is punishable by death or a life sentence.

Following are few of the encounter killings :

  • Case of Disha murder case – The accused had raped and murdered a young doctor and the four accused were killed in an encounter and the encounter is probed by an inquiry commission led by ex-top Court Judge, V. S. Sirpurkar. The Apex Court bench led by CJI S. A. Bobde extended time period of six months for the inquiry as the inquiry had got delayed due to the novel coronavirus spread.
  •  Vikas Dubey case – The dreaded gangster and criminal Vikas Dubey was killed recently in an encounter. He attempted to run off after a car accident and got shot.  The Supreme Court was shocked that such a criminal was out on bail when considering case regarding the death of Vikas Dubey. A panel was constituted to inquire into the death of the criminal.

Case laws regarding encounter killings :                                                                                             

  • In People’s Union for Civil Liberties case, the Apex Court bench comprising of Chief Justice R. M. Lodha and Justice Rohinton Nariman had given guidelines constituting of 16 points that have to be complied with when dealing with investigations regarding deaths resulting from police encounters.
  • In Prakash Kadam vs. Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta,  the Supreme Court stated :

We are of the view that in cases where a fake encounter is proved against policemen in trial, they must be given death sentence, treating it as the rarest of rare cases. Fake ‘encounters’ are nothing but cold blooded, brutal murder by persons who are supposed to uphold the law .”


To conclude, in case of genuine encounters the sections given under law can be invoked else if the encounter is fake then the police officer is found to be guilty. For further information regarding this matter, please contact lawyers in India.

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