The Telangana High Court on Saturday ordered for a fresh post mortem of the four accused in the rape and murder of Disha, a veterinarian in Hyderabad. The accused were killed in a police encounter earlier this month.
The court said that the fresh autopsy must be completed by 5 pm on December 23 (Monday) and ordered that the entire process must be videographed.
Following this, the bodies of the four accused will be handed over to their families under the supervision of the police, the court ordered.
A division bench, comprising Chief Justice R S Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy, which specifically convened to hear the case on Saturday had summoned Superintendent of the state-run Gandhi Hospital, Dr Sharavan, to appear before it.
Dr Shravan informed the court that the bodies had been preserved at the hospital in a freezer at -2 degrees Celsius but added that they had already decomposed by 50%. The senior doctor said that the bodies may completely decompose in another 7 to 10 days.
When the HC enquired if any other hospital in the country had the facilities to preserve the bodies better, Dr Shravan told the court that he was not aware of the same.
Advocate General BS Prasad had opposed the proposal for a fresh autopsy and said that the petitioners in the case, had not asked for the same. He also said that if a fresh autopsy is required, it should be done by forensic experts from Telangana.
He also informed the court that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had already been constituted to probe the encounter.
Senior lawyer and Amicus Curiae in the case, D Prakash Reddy, pointed out that the families of the deceased had sought a fresh autopsy, in their representation to the Supreme Court, and argued that the move was necessary to preserve â€˜material evidenceâ€™.
He also sought for an independent body to conduct the process, to ensure credibility.
Following this, the court issued its orders.
Families of the four accused, who were gunned down by the Cyberabad police on December 6, had approached the Supreme Court earlier this week, seeking registration of murder case against the police officers involved.
Alleging that the youth were killed in a stage-managed gunfight, the families sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and for a direction to the Telangana government to pay them Rs 50 lakh each, as compensation. They also urged the Supreme Court to quash the cases registered against the deceased - Mohammed Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakuntla Chennakeshavulu.
The top court had stayed the proceedings initiated by the Telangana High Court and the National Human Rights Commission into the encounter, but had allowed the HC to pass urgent orders on the collection of evidence.
The police have claimed that the accused attacked the police party escorting them to reconstruct the crime scene at Chatanpally, snatched their weapons and opened fire. All four were killed in retaliatory fire from the police.
It was at Chatanpally that the accused had allegedly burnt the body of Disha, a veterinarian, on the night of November 27, after the gang-rape at Shamshabad on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
The gruesome rape and murder had triggered national outrage with demands for immediate death penalty to the perpetrators. While the killing of the accused was hailed by a section of people, the families of the deceased and human rights groups termed this as extra-judicial killings, and moved the Supreme Court.