The Delhi Police Friday sought to lay the blame for its post-midnight crackdown of June 4/5 at the Ramlila ground at the doorstep of yoga guru Ramdev, when it told the Supreme Court that he was responsible for creating a situation that forced the police action.
Detailing the circumstances and the sequence of events to a bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar, the Delhi Police justified the use of force and teargas in its operation to evict Ramdev and his supporters from the ground.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, who appeared for Delhi Police, said that what had happened was “unfortunate” and “unpleasant” but asked who was responsible, pointing to Ramdev.
He told the court that when police personnel went to Ramdev and explained him the circumstances requiring the cancellation of the permission for his yoga camp at the Ramlila ground, Ramdev, instead of appreciating the circumstances, started running away which resulted in chaos and resultant police action.
Salve told the court that Bharat Swabhiman Trust which had booked the ground never informed the authorities that the yoga camp would be combined with the campaign against corruption.
The court was told this in reply to its query during the Nov 21 hearing as to why the police action could not have waited till morning next day (June 5).
The Delhi Police’s submission was made in the course of the suo motu proceedings of the incident at Ramlila ground whose cognizance was taken by Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar soon after it occurred.
Having blamed Ramdev himself, Salve justified the involvement of union Home Minister P.Chidambram saying that maintaining the law and order was within his domain and no malafide (intent) could be read on that count.
He told the court that all the actions of the minister were constitutionally permissible.
“If you have a capacity of 50,000 and it went up to one lakh at the Ramlila ground, the home minister will be worried as the union government is mandated to maintain law and order,” he said.
Salve wondered how does the Delhi Police commissioner remaining in touch with the home minister become a “malafide” action. “Does it become malafide if Delhi police commissioner is in touch with the home minister and home secretary,” he asked.
He also drew the court’s attention to the great deal of “bonhomie” between Ramdev and the government ministers prior to the police action.
Salve was responding the arguments by senior counsel Ram Jethmalani who had compared the police action with brutalities of Nazis in Hitlers Germany. He had contended that it was the resolve of the government not to let Ramdev to carry on with his protest and stay in Delhi.