There is no ambiguous provision or statute in Indian laws that legalises encounter killings. On the contrary, various Supreme Court judgments and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) guidelines limit the use of police’s excesses. However, the ground reality is very different. Legal experts point at various cases where the victims didn’t get any justice. The glorification of extrajudicial killings by politicians also emboldens an ecosystem of lawlessness.
Data tabled in the Lok Sabha on July 26 revealed that across the country, 82 people were killed in police encounters during the 2020-2021 fiscal, which jumped to 151 during the 2021-2022 fiscal. Although the data for the year shows an uptick in encounters, India’s history since the 1990s has remained replete with instances of fake encounter killings.