On Friday the vacation bench of the Supreme Court, comprising of Justices Indira Banerjee and MR Shah, set aside the order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, dismissing the petition seeking second autopsy of Jaipal Bhullar, on the ground that the High Court lacked jurisdiction. The Supreme Court observed that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had erred in dismissing the petition on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, pointing out that serious allegations had been made against the Punjab police by the petitioner. The Supreme Court has directed the Punjab and Haryana High Court to decide the matter on merits.
The petition was filed by the father of alleged slain gangster Jaipal Bhullar, aged 39 years, who was allegedly tortured and killed along with one another, in a fake encounter by the Punjab police and Local Special Task Force on 9th June 2021 in Kolkata, West Bengal. However, the previously conducted post mortem in Kolkata failed to show any signs of injuries on the body, which is suspected to have been manipulated by the Punjab police.
The Supreme Court observed that the Punjab & Haryana High Court had made an error while dismissing the petition, stating that since Bhullar had died in Kolkata, and his postmortem was conducted by Doctors there, the High Court didn’t have jurisdiction to entertain the matter. The body has been brought to Punjab and is to be examined at PGI, Chandigarh, or any other independent medical institute. Further, the bench has ordered the State of Punjab to make necessary arrangements for the storage of the dead body.
Petitioner Counsel Advocate Ishma Randhawa has contended that when the body reached Punjab, the petitioner saw multiple injuries on the body, which were not disclosed in the post mortem reports of the Kolkata hospital. The petitioner counsel has contended that the matter is of abuse of police power and that his son was killed as a result of custodial violence. A re-examination of the body would also help in addressing the medico-legal issues related to arrest.