[Khanauri Border] “You don’t know Punjab Police!”: SC refuses stay on judicial probe into death of Shubhkaran Singh

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The court said that the judiciary will take care of any situation that erupts in case the police is demoralised and is unable to use force in a violent eruption

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the judicial probe ordered into the death of Shubhkaran Singh by High Court, who was agitating at the Farmers protest at Khanauri border on February 21.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and KV Vishwanathan said that the morale of the Punjab Police will not be affected if judicial probe is carried out to establish whether the action of shooting a pellet gun was commensurate with the situation it was presented with.

“You don’t know Punjab (& Haryana) Police,” Justice Surya Kant said, as he smiled when the Solicitor General pointed out the apprehensions of the state government in light of the SIT led by judicial members to look into the action of using a rubber bullet at the agitators.

The bench also pointed out that to carry swords in Punjab was completely normal after Solicitor General told the bench that the agitators were carrying swords and slicks and the use of minimal force was well within the jurisdiction of the police. 

“The police cannot do its duty? When agitators with lethal weapons come, whether it was commensurate to take action? To carry Kirpans is normal when one goes to Gurudwara! The HC order has a completely demoralising affect on the police. It gives an impression that though my 67 officers are injured and one bullet is fired, it was not commensurate with the situation on the ground?,” the Senior Law officer told court.

The bench said that the order has been passed a report will be ready next month, by the 10th of April.

“This has created a problem, more than solving,” he said as he highlighted the alacrity of the high court order which questioned Haryana about the kind of bullets and pellets used on February 21 and asked it to submit details.

“I am not questioning the members of the SIT, I am simply stating that that this will affect the morale of the police forces. They should be allowed to do their duty. To assume that an independent probe can only be carried out with judges in the team? What if tomorrow something happens? The police cannot use force?,” he pointed out.

Justice Kant said to this, “The judiciary will take care of a situation like that”.

With that, the bench posted the case for April 19, allowing the Haryana Government to file a supplemental report.

The bench was hearing an appeal filed by the Haryana Government against an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordering probe into the death of a Shubkaran Singh at the protest site, wherein agitators had collected demanding legal guarantee of MSP.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, the HC bench of acting chief justice GS Sandhawalia and justice Lapita Banerji had also questioned the agitators for creating a “war-like situation” and using women and children as a shield during the protest.

The committee to be set up was directed to be headed by a retired Judge, Justice J Thakur.

Violence broke out on February 21 as the agitating farmers attempted to break the barricades and march towards Delhi. Scores of security personnel as well as protestors suffered injuries at Khanauri border.

Case Title: State or Haryana Vs Uday Pratap Singh