Decided on April 11,1972

P.G.KARNIK Respondents


- (1.) THE petitioner's case is that in pursuance of a call given therefor by the Peasant's and Workers' Party a Morcha of a few thousand persons, including women, was organised on September 6, 1971 near the Government Godown at Vairga village. On that occasion incidents of violence and firing by police took place. By a notification dated 18th November, 1971 Shri P. G. Karnik, District Judge, Aurangabad, was under the Commissioners of Inquiry Act appointed a Commission on Inquiry to inquire into and report on : (1) the incidents of violence leading to the firing by the police; and
(2.) TO determine whether firing was justified or not and whether excessive or otherwise. 2. The Commission appears to have held its first sitting on 24th January, 1972. On behalf of the Peasants' Party their advocate then submitted that having regard to the nature of the terms of reference the Commission should first record the evidence of witnesses for the police in connection with the incidents of firing undertaken by the police. The submission was that after the evidence of these witnesses was recorded, the evidence of the witnesses for the public represented by the above parties should be recorded. In connection with that application made on behalf of the above parties, the learned Commissioner referred to the terms of reference and observed that the Police Officers would "practically be in the dock of the accused. They are being accused by some of the political parties of having unnecessarily resorted to firing and having resorted to excessive firing. " He held that the officers who were responsible for the firing should be entitled to lead their evidence after recording the evidence of those parties who claim that the firing was unnecessary. He further observed : "if the party or parties who claim that the firing was unnecessary fail to establish this aspect of the case, the officers who have resorted to the firing may not like to examine any witness at all. " He, therefore, directed that the parties who claimed that the firing was unnecessary or that it was excessive should lead their evidence first and that the officers who resorted to the firing will lead their evidence later on.
(3.) THE above directions are challenged in the present Special Civil Application as being contrary to all established principles of natural justice and contrary to the intent and purpose of the inquiry directed to be held under the above Notification.;

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