Delhi police Monday told the Supreme Court that yoga guru Baba Ramdev played rabble-rouser and was responsible for the events culminating in the police operation to evict him and his anti-graft supporters from Ramlila ground here past midnight June 4.
It was Baba Ramdev who transformed a crowd of 30,000 people into a “belligerent angry crowd” by telling them that the government had betrayed him, senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the police, told the apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar.
The court was holding suo motu proceedings on the Ramlila ground incident.
“Rousing 30,000 people to mutinying is not an answer in democracy and public order,” Salve said, adding that the right to life or personal liberty too was subject to public order.
“Those who preach democracy must comply with the rule of law,” Salve said, referring to the Dec 6, 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh as a case of political leaders losing control of the crowd.
Salve said: “You don’t support the dissent till it reaches the point of periling the public order.”
It was “their refusal and resistance to the reasonable order of the police which resulted in police action”, the senior counsel told the court.
Justifying the police operation, Salve said Baba Ramdev was exhorting more and more people to join the gathering at Ramlila ground and there were reports that people were being mobilised from adjoining states to reach Delhi.
With more people moving in to join the gathering at Ramlila ground, it would not have been possible to maintain security. He said that in communally sensitive surroundings, someone could have targeted Baba Ramdev resulting in riots.
The court wanted to know the identity of a policeman who, in a newspaper picture, was shown engaged in baton charge against Ramdev’s supporters.
Replying to the allegation of Ramdev that police action had political colour, Salve said that administrative decisions to maintain public order were influenced by public events.
The senior counsel ridiculed attempts to make the Supreme Court disbelieve the highest ranking police functionary in the national capital.
He said that the “biggest stricture against the police commissioner is that the Supreme Court disbelieved him”.