Ensaaf engages in strategic litigation to hold perpetrators accountable and set national precedents on human rights norms.
In October 1994, Punjab Police whistleblower Satwant Singh Manak filed a petition calling on the Punjab & Haryana High Court to investigate the torture and extrajudicial execution of ten people. Almost 20 years later, the Supreme Court of India granted Manak and victim families leave to appeal the High Court judgment that had denied them a high level inquiry into these unlawful killings. Ensaaf provided extensive litigation support with the Supreme Court petition.
In May 2014, an Additional Sessions Judge convicted three Punjab Police officers in the July 1989 abduction and murder of Kuljit Singh Dhatt. However, she merely sentenced them to concurrent sentences of five years, three years, and two years, plus a fine. The Dhatt family will appeal the sentences. Ensaaf provided litigation support in this case.
Since 2005, Ensaaf has provided critical litigation support in the two cases regarding the murder of human rights defender Jaswant Singh Khalra: the criminal case against several police officers, and a petition calling on the government to prosecute former Punjab police chief KPS Gill for his role in the crimes. This latter case has the potential to set national precedent on superior responsibility. Ensaaf has also organized international advocacy concerning these cases.
Ensaaf has provided crucial litigation support and organized the first international interventions in the Punjab mass cremations case proceeding before India's National Human Rights Commission, in which security forces are implicated in thousands of killings and secret cremations throughout Punjab. This case will set national precedent on the redress of mass state crimes.