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Judicial Commission Formed to Investigate Hathras Stampede

The Uttar Pradesh government has constituted a three-member judicial commission to investigate the stampede that occurred during a Satsang in Hathras on 3 July 2024, resulting in 121 fatalities. Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel issued the notification for this commission.

Members of the Judicial Commission

The commission consists of three members:

  1. Justice Brijesh Kumar Srivastava (Chairman) – Retired judge of the Allahabad High Court
  2. Hemant Rao – Retired IAS officer
  3. Bhavesh Kumar Singh – Retired IPS officer

The commission’s headquarters is located in Lucknow, the state capital.

Mandate of the Judicial Commission

According to the official notification, the commission will:

  • Investigate various aspects of the tragedy that led to 121 deaths, primarily women
  • Examine whether the incident was a conspiracy, accident, or a planned criminal event
  • Investigate if the Satsang organizer adhered to the permissions granted by the state government
  • Examine other related issues
  • Suggest recommendations to prevent similar incidents in the future

The commission is required to submit its report within two months.

The Hathras Incident

  • The stampede occurred during a satsang organized by self-styled preacher Narayan Saakar Hari, also known as Bhole Baba
  • While authorities permitted 80,000 attendees, an unexpected crowd of 2.5 lakh devotees arrived
  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh for families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured

Understanding Enquiry Commissions

Definition and Appointment

An Enquiry Commission is appointed by state or central governments under the Commissions of Inquiry Act of 1952 to investigate matters of public importance.

Powers and Functions

Enquiry Commissions have the following powers:

  • Powers of a civil court under the Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (which replaced the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, on 1 July 2024)
  • Can summon and examine any person from any part of India under oath
  • Can order the discovery and production of any document
  • Can receive evidence on affidavits
  • Can issue orders for the examination of witnesses or documents

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the judicial commission formed to investigate the Hathras stampede, including its members, mandate, and the incident itself. It also offers context on the nature and powers of enquiry commissions in India.

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