The Madras High Court today rued its failure to hear earlier a 2005 plea of a former woman MP for a CBI probe into the killing of her husband in an encounter but denied the relief saying such a delayed probe will not yield fair results.
The bench of justices S Nagamuthu and Anitha Sumanth refused to order a CBI probe into the encounter killings of ex-MP Radhika Selvi's husband Venkatesa Pannaiyar and another alleged history sheeter Balamurali, but ordered payment of a compensation of Rs 25,000 to her for delayed hearing.
"In our considered view, if the probe is transferred to the CBI at this length of time and investigation is commenced afresh, it would offend the fair and speedy investigation guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution," said the bench.
It, however, conceded that "the probe should have been entrusted to an agency like CBI or to the state CB-CID to unearth truth and instill confidence in minds of people," but "unfortunately, it was not done by the government on its own."
Ruing its "inadvertent" failure to hear the 2005 plea earlier, the bench said, "These writ petitions ought to have been given preference and disposed of within a reasonable time."
The heavy pendency of cases "which is about four lakh" may have been the reason for the delay, the judges noted.
"Yes, we accept the blame," said the bench adding "At this length of time, we could only express our regrets."
"Having said that we cannot omit to grant the minimum possible relief to the petitioner," the bench said, while ordering the payment of a compensation of Rs 25,000 each to Selvi and another co-petitioner, who had sought the CBI probe into the 2003 killings.
The bench asked the home secretary to pay the compensation to the petitioners for the delay in listing of the case.
Selvi's husband, Pannaiyar, a community leader but wanted in connection with several cases of robbery and extortion, was shot dead in 2003 here along with co-accused Balamurali.
On October 20, 2003 the state government had also set up a commission of inquiry headed by Justice A Raman (retd) to look into the alleged encounter.
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