The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday said it will look into the language used by Haryana officers in Section 144 orders passed right before the violence that took place in Panchkula and other cities during protests against the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Ram Rahim in a rape case in August 2017. The Section 144 order issued by
Panchkula administration in August 2017 had not made any mention regarding prohibition of assembly of five or more persons. The state advocate general had later admitted before the High Court that there was a clerical mistake in the order and an amended order was passed later.
During the resumed hearing before Justices Rajiv Sharma, Rakesh Kumar Jain and Augustine George Masih Tuesday, the amicus made submissions in context of different apex court verdicts including the recent judgment in Kashmir lockdown-related Anuradha Bhasin’s case.
The court asked the Haryana government about the “language employed” in the Section 144 orders and the material available with the State for passing such orders. Advocate General Haryana Baldev Raj Mahajan submitted that he will produce all records available with the State and submitted that intentions behind the orders are required to be seen.
Referring to Ram Rahim’s matter, Mahajan said it was a CBI case, while amicus and senior advocate Anupam Gupta submitted that there were serious deficiencies with the Section 144 order passed earlier by Haryana authorities.
There was large-scale violence in Haryana after Ram Rahim was convicted in a rape case in 2017. In the run-up to the verdict by a special CBI court at Panchkula, hundreds of Dera followers gathered outside the court complex and as soon as the verdict was pronounced, they destroyed to property worth an estimated Rs 118 crore. At least 36 people were killed in Haryana in forces’ action.
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