Encounter Culture: A Violation Of Human Rights OR A Robinhood Mission To Curb Crimes

The word Encounter has not been defined in the Indian penal code or the criminal procedure code. The general meaning of Encounter is to meet unexpectedly or a casual meeting.

Encounter Culture: A Violation Of Human Rights OR A Robinhood Mission To Curb Crimes

The word Encounter has not been defined in the Indian penal code or the criminal procedure code. The general meaning of Encounter is to meet unexpectedly or a casual meeting.  Although the word has not been defined anywhere in the IPC or Crpc or the state police acts, the word encounter has come to be used as ‘Police Lingo’. Thus there is no procedure for encounter hence it is an ‘extrajudicial killing’. It is a sudden step taken to handle a complex situation.    

Under Indian law, the police officers are authorized with crime investigation and law enforcement but the jurisdiction to give punishments is sole with the courts. Police do not have the right to take away the life of the person under their custody. Legal sanction of killing people is only provided in the “rarest of the rare cases” and under the procedure established by law. To get the best and low-cost Law course, mock test paper any law-related information can visit “Law Planet”.

Encounters can be classified into two types:

  1. Legal encounter
  2. Fake encounter

Legal encounters have complete validity under the eyes of the law. The main reason behind this kind of encounter is “Self defense”. The Indian penal code 1860 has relevant provisions dealing with the right to personal defense from sections 96 to 106.

Section 96 mentions that Nothing is an offense that is done in the exercise of the right of private defense. Such a type of right is extended to defend the human body as well as the movable and immovable property.

In any case of encounter death, it has to be proved that it was done out of any conditions provided in the exception clause of section 300 (culpable homicide) the exceptions which are applicable are as follows:

  1. Grave and sudden provocation.
  2. Private defense.
  3. Act of public servant: A person in course of imparting his official duty causes the death of another person; He should not have any ill will towards that person.

If any of the above exceptions are not proved in the court then the person shall be guilty of the offense under section299-300 of IPC and shall be given the punishment of murder as provided under section 302 of IPC.

As we talk about the concept of Fake encounters, a Fake encounter is nothing but a cold-blooded and brutal murder by the persons who are supposed to uphold the law.

At times it becomes very difficult to justify whether the encounter was done in the circumstances of the grave and sudden provocation and under self-defense or was it just a fake encounter and still has been declared as one where it was done under the exception of self-defense.

While discussing on encounter the question arises over the legality and appropriateness of the police action leading to the debate that “whether a democratic country should follow constitutional norms and adhere to the due process of law or it shall adopt an instant measure for quick and speedy justice to the victims’

Time and again we come across news that catches our attention. If we take the case of encounter of the 4 rapists involved in the rape of a 26 years old ‘Disha’ we can say that the country was divided into two groups with the thought whether justice has been provided or evaded, and the National Human Rights Commission had also taken a suo moto cognizance in the case.

The main question here arises is of the applicability of constitutional provisions of fundamental rights which are conferred upon every citizen. Even the state cannot violate the right to life. The state has a duty to follow the procedure established by law under article 21 of the Indian constitution.

Article 21:

There shall be no violation of the life or personal liberty of the person except according to the procedure established by law. This article has been held to be the heart of the Indian constitution. Any violation of human rights guaranteed by article 21 of the constitution is viewed seriously by the court as the right to life is to most precious right.

In the case of the court had dealt with various pleas made by the PUCL questioning the correctness of 90 encounter killings by Mumbai police between 1995-1991.

The detailed order passed by the bench of the chief justice Rm Lodha and RF Nariman firstly highlighted that the right to life under article 21 is available to every person and even the state has no authority to violate that right.

Natural Justice:

The principles of natural justice have been implied to protect public rights against arbitrary decisions by the administrative authorities. At all the stages of the proceedings, the main motive of principles of natural justice is to prevent miscarriage of justice. The violation of these principles results in arbitrariness and the decision becomes void or voidable. Visit to know about “JAMES MARTIN vs STATE OF KERALA Case

Encounter Killings Must Be Investigated Independently:

The killing in police encounters affects the credibility of rule of law and thus shall be investigated independently. Although the police have to perform very difficult tasks especially in the case of hardcore criminals like extremists, drug peddlers, smugglers, terrorists who have taken a strong root in society but then such criminals must be handle by police in an efficient and effective manner so as to bring justice by following the Rule of Law. Considering all these facts the bench in the case provided a 16 step guideline to be followed in the investigation of encounter killing.

Encounter: A Boon Or A Curse?

It is a never-ending debate whether the encounter helps in curbing the crime or is it a violation of human rights. It is undoubtedly true that the criminals must be punished and that’s why the procedure for the same is established by law. However hardcore the criminal is at the end he is a person in the eyes of law and cannot be deprived of his fundamental rights.


We have come across many cases of encounter killings the latest being that of gangster Vikas Dubey, but how many of them actually got the justice as per the procedure established by law? As we say that fundamental rights are available for every citizen of the country then so do the criminals. They cannot be deprived of their basic rights like rights conferred by article 21 of the constitution.

Every person also has the right to judicial remedy and the right of being heard i.e natural justice the court of law, when a terrorist like Kasab had the right of being heard then so do the other criminals. However, police officials can kill any victim to maintain peace in society or self-defense but not fulfill personal grudges and personal motives.

Thus, no one shall be deprived of their basic constitutional rights and right of being heard. Every person has a remedy at the court and he shall be punished accordingly for the crimes committed following the procedure established by law and the keeping into consideration the rule of law and rule of natural justice