The Commission made the observations while dealing with a fake encounter case in Uttar Pradesh for which it has recommended a CBI probe.
''The job of the police is to apprehend criminals and bring them to book... Merely because a person is perceived to be a dreaded criminal and threat to society, the Police can have no justification to deprive him of his life otherwise than in accordance with the procedure established by law,'' it said.
The fake encounter involved one Suraj Singh, who was picked up by a team of SOG, Sultanpur, on February 12, 2007.
The victim's brother Chandan Singh had sent a fax message to the Commission at about 1700 hrs the same day, expressing apprehension that his brother might be killed by the police in a fake encounter. However, the Commission received the message at 1145 hrs the next day.
On February 14, 2007, NHRC received two separate messages-- one from SSP, Lucknow and the other from STF, UP that Suraj Singh had been killed in a police encounter at Lucknow-Rai Bareilly Road on February 13, 2007 at 7.35.
Taking into account that the Commission had received the message from the deceased's brother before the alleged time of encounter, NHRC sent a probe team headed by DIG (NHRC), to Lucknow, Sultanpur and Faizabad from February 26 to March 2.
In its report, the team said the encounter in which Suraj Singh was killed was stage-managed by the police to justify the killing.
Criminal cases u/s 307 IPC and sec 25/27 of the Arms Act, were registered against the deceased at Police Station Mohanlalganj, Lucknow.
NHRC observed that, whenever, an incident of fake encounter is brought to its notice, it has to be thoroughly investigated.
However, in the Suraj Singh case where senior officers of the rank of SSP and DSP were involved, an ''investigation by the local police would not be independent as it should be''.
''Therefore, the case should be investigated by the CBI,'' the Commission recommended.
The Commission said, ''The investigation should cover the allegation of killing of Suraj Singh in fake encounter and the UP Government, through its Chief Secretary should convey its consent for CBI investigation to the Centre at the earliest under intimation to the Commission by August 3, 2007''.