HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Thursday dismissed two individual petitions filed by Vasama Surendhar DSP in CID, the then investigation officer in the Disha case and Kondam Narasimha Reddy, police inspector, seeking directions to Enquiry Commission constituted by Supreme Court, to inquire into the encounter deaths of those accused in Disha case.
The petitioners urged the court to ensure that they are treated as independent witnesses under Section 8-B of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 and to examine them after other witnesses are examined, keeping in view the Supreme Court judgement in the case of Kiran Bedi v Committee of Inquiry.
Refusing their prayer, the Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice A. Rajasheker Reddy, stated that the Commission has the powers to regulate its procedure subject to the rules framed under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, and does not warrant any interference.
Citing various judgements related to Inquiry Commission’s authority and powers, the court said that the panel’s inquiry was inquisitorial rather than accusatorial. In the proceedings before the Commission, there are no parties to the proceedings. Based on the facts placed before the panel in the shape of evidence, including affidavits and statements, the commission of Inquiry has to consider that material and record its findings. These findings are not enforceable. Indisputably, the commission has also been given powers to frame its own rules and procedure. The order passed by the commission makes it very clear that the commission has done it in exercise of powers under the Commissions of Inquiry Act.
It is the discretion of the commission to require any party to adduce the evidence first. It is certainly not at all open to the petitioners to state that they have to be examined as independent witnesses....