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Posted at: Aug 30, 2017, 2:23 AM; last updated: Aug 30, 2017, 1:58 PM (IST)

HC: If indulging in nonsense, have to be shot

SITs in Punjab, Haryana to monitor FIRs post conviction
HC: If indulging in nonsense, have to be shot

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29

Refusing to go into the police firing in Panchkula after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today said “it was a war-like situation that required to be fought like a war”.

Rejecting submissions by lawyers present in the court on the use of pellet guns by the police instead of bullets to disburse the mob, a Full Bench of the High Court thundered: “You want the police to soft-pedal. In case you are indulging in nonsense, you have to be shot.”

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The assertion came soon after the issue of deaths in police firing was raised before the Bench. More than 30 persons were killed in Panchkula on Friday in rioting that broke out minutes after the CBI court held  Ram Rahim guilty of rape.

The Bench of Acting Chief Justice SS Saron, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Avneesh Jhingan said the rioters were the king and the police victims in the incident. “You have to be hard in a riot situation… When people come armed with petrol bombs, sticks and other weapons, and it is an organised attack, you have to be firm. If they are indulging in riots, arson and mayhem, they could be killed.”

The Bench made clear its intent to frame guidelines on the use of full force to specify situations where use of water cannons, lead or rubber bullets were required to deal with mobs.

The Bench ordered the setting up of special investigation teams for Punjab and Haryana to be headed by officers not below the rank of Additional Directors General of Police for supervising and monitoring probes into the FIRs registered post conviction. The Bench also made it clear that judicial magistrates in both states would examine the status of investigations in the FIRs before submitting comprehensive reports to the High Court. The Bench has  carried out the experiment of involving magistrates in the supervision process with success in Haryana’s reservation row cases last year.

Virtually admonishing Haryana Advocate-General Baldev Raj Mahajan on contrary stands in the court, the Bench said on the one hand he was trying to propagate the theory that crowds were allowed to swell in Panchkula to lure Ram Rahim into coming to the court and on the other claiming that non-inclusion of instructions prohibiting the assembly of five and more persons on the order under Section 144 was a mistake. “How do you reconcile the two stands?”

Referring to the state government’s decision to place under suspension the services of Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police for a “defective” prohibitory order, the Bench added if the state had deliberately allowed the people to come, the omission was not a mistake.

AG cornered

Haryana Advocate-General BR Mahajan virtually threw up his hands when the court questioned him if  vehicles ferrying Ram Rahim’s own security men were checked. Amidst chants of “shame-shame” by lawyers present in the court, he said it was impossible to do so. 

Observing that Ram Rahim had his own security, the Bench asked Mahajan to specify the number of vehicles and those travelling in these, if they were armed and how were they allowed to enter Panchkula. The AG replied: “My Lords, it was not possible to check.”

The Bench also asked Mahajan on how more than 350 vehicles were allowed to accompany Ram Rahim from Sirsa when a curfew was in place. 

Seize Dera chief’s properties to pay violence victims: PIL

New Delhi: A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking that the damage to life and property due to the violent clashes after the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in rape cases, be compensated by confiscating and auctioning the properties of Dera Sacha Sauda and its chief. It said that government money should not be used to compensate the victims of violence. The petition also sought setting up of an expert committee to assess loss of life and property. PTI

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