SC slams Delhi Police & Ramdev baba
The Supreme Court has held the Union government-controlled Delhi Police guilty of using excess force against Baba Ramdev’s supporters on June 4 in the Capital when the yoga guru sat on a protest demonstration. It said the police action against anti-graft protestors was a “glaring example of trust deficit” A bench of justices BS Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said that incident showed the might of the state, which struck at the foundation of democracy. The bench also observed that the police and the state could have avoided that tragic incident in which one person died and several were injured. Police action was meant to bring peace but in this case they breached the peace itself, the court said. The apex court blamed both Ramdev and the Delhi Police for the midnight crackdown at the Ramlila Maidan last year and directed criminal prosecution of police personnel and Ramdev’s supporters who had behaved violently during the incident. However, the bench noted that the cops had assaulted sleeping victims and the police and the state could have avoided the incident. There was abuse of power by the Delhi Police and the Fundamental Rights of people were violated, the bench said. The court awarded a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for the family members of Rajbala, a woman who died in the incident. The bench also awarded a compensation of Rs. 50,000 for those who suffered grievous injuries in the incident and Rs. 25,000 for those with simple injuries. The apex court had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports showing brutality of police action against the sleeping followers of Ramdev, including women and children at Ramlila Maidan on the midnight of June 4-5 last year during his anti-corruption agitation. Ramdev had alleged that the police action was carried out on the instructions of their political masters and demanded action against crackdown. Baba Ramdev had gone on an indefinite fast in early June last year at the Ramlila Maidan to pressure the Centre to root out corruption and bring back black money stashed away in tax havens. His fast came after a similar one by activist Anna Hazare, whose April campaign struck a chord with large sections and forced the government to make concessions on an anti-corruption bill. After talks broke down between the Centre and the yoga guru, the police swooped down on Baba Ramdev, a little past midnight, and detained him after firing tear gas shells and resorting to lathi-charge to end his day-old indefinite hunger strike on the black money issue.