The State or the Sovereign guarantees us and guards our ‘Fundamental Right to Life’ from the time we’re conceived. And it also possesses the power to snatch it away to maintain equity.
As debatable as it may seem, it’s accepted by consensus in order to establish ‘Social Justice’- which in India, is inherently an idea of Gandhi and Ambedkar of establishing an Egalitarian Society laid on the foundation of equality and justice and cemented with the idea of the State taking affirmative actions to curb injustices being disseminated by one class of the society over the other.
Now, State is essentially represented by its people’s ideology. And those people are represented by the Government. So, all in all, the State is represented by its Government, who for that reason is the Regulatory and Controlling authority. In other words, the Government performs sovereign duty.
Now, when it comes to snatching away someone’s Fundamental Right to Life, State must have the utmost reasonability and for that reason no other possible remedies or punishments for that scale of offence (rarest of the rare crime). Concept of Capital Punishment comes in when a person is declared ‘Sub-human’ by the Constitutional Court of Law.
But what about the Police and Armed Forces?
What is the scope for ‘Extra Judicial Killing’ and how different is it from the usual Homicide?
Armed Forces have special laws relating to such extrajudicial killings, such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act- 1958, which gives them the power to use force to maintain Law & Order.
Section 96-106 of IPC talks about the right of ‘Private Defence’. It is available to every citizen of this country. Encounter is a glorified version of it, else everyone possesses a right to protect their life and property from any sort of grave or sudden danger/threat.
It isn’t necessarily killing someone. It could be making that person disable to attack you anymore. But, if someone is dead, that needs proper justification as to the unavailability of any other option of defense.
The only difference being, homicide or murder has a guilty intention and ‘Encounter out of the right to Private Defence’ doesn’t.
Now, where there’s power, there’s abuse.
Fake encounters aren’t something un-discovered.
The latest and highly Criticized ‘Vikas Dubey Encounter’ is a glorified example, where people even came up conspiracy theories such as “Vikas Dubey had privileged information as he was a high profiled criminal, so the Police pulled off this planned encounter”.
Even the Priyanka Reddy rape case’s accused boys were killed in the middle of the night, by an officer who is known for his ‘Encounter Operations’.
The worst-hit areas would include Kashmir and North-East. According to a report by NHRC (upon RTI filed by ‘First Post’), 1782 number of fake cases took place before between 2000-2017.
And that’s not even the worst part!
Also, not to forget the encounter of Manya Surve, a Mumbai based gangster, who was claimed to be killed by the Mumbai Police purposefully.
Most of the time, such acts are applauded by the public at large. Well, we can’t blame them, can we?
They’ve grown impatient and more than anything, the unrealistic gap between their and the Court’s understanding of Justice due to emotional intervention and Social Media Trigger.
Impact of Pop culture (mostly Bollywood) and politician’s influence on people who then lose faith in the country’s Law & Order system.
Although, are we really able to differentiate between ‘Extra Judicial Execution’ carried out of self-defense and ‘Police brutality’ or ‘Propaganda Homicide’?
Clearly, I’m not taking a side here, but when a government’s organ is not respecting Laws of the land, how different are they from these dead outlaws?
We’re ignorant to abuse of power until we become a victim to it.
What if tomorrow my sibling or parent or any such relative gets killed by a police officer without any probable cause as they could just use the plea of ‘Right to Private Defense’?
Without strict adherence to their code of conduct, Police is as dangerous as terrorists roaming freely in your streets with a rifle.
References and Citations
 Tiwari, S. (2009). SOCIAL JUSTICE: GANDHI AND AMBEDKAR. The Indian Journal of Political Science, 70(2), 429-439 | http://www.jstor.org/stable/42743907
 Legal Aspects of Extra judicial killings
Updated on 7 December, 2019 | https://www.jatinverma.org/legal-aspects-of-extra-judicial-killings
 Law Relating to Encounter Killings by The Police
Justice V. Ram Kumar, 9 Jan 2020 6:01 PM
 Vikas Dubey and the Problem of ‘Encounter Killings’ in India
When the police themselves seem to break the law, who will hold them to account?
By Tarini Mehta, July 17, 2020 | https://thediplomat.com/2020/07/vikas-dubey-and-the-problem-of-encounter-killings-in-india/
I’d rather be called an impulsive writer. Although emotion is not something that drives my pen, the utter necessity of Justice does!