Policemen deployed in the Patiala House Courts complex Wednesday — when Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) President Kanhaiya Kumar and others were assaulted there — had been asked to “exercise restraint till the situation warranted retributive action”, according to a report prepared by Delhi Police.
The report, to be submitted to the central government, said the police wanted to “go in for minimum collateral damage”.
Delhi Police had held a series of meetings with local members of the Bar Association to ensure “orderliness” in court that day, stated the report.
“Considering the… atmosphere in the last few days and the unpredictable behaviour of the lawyers, a series of meetings were held by police with the representatives of local Bar Association and it was assured by the Bar Association that they will help police maintain orderliness in court,” it said.
After a similar incident in the court complex Monday, Delhi Police “presumed that a semblance of self-discipline would prevail in the lawyers’ community, cutting across lines,” said the report. “Unfortunately, it was not perceived so on the ground,” it added.
Citing past clashes between police and lawyers, the report said police were always at the “receiving end” and have been “castigated” for either excessive use of force or for not exercising enough restraint while trying to control lawyers inside court.
“It has also been seen that mostly innocent lawyers face the brunt of any action and the unruly ones manage to go free. Hence, police personnel deployed in the court premises were asked to exercise restraint till the situation warranted retributive action,” said the report.
As the Patiala House Courts complex is “congested”, crowd dispersal methods like lathi-charge or using tear gas “would have made the crowd retreat to closed spaces and thus the probability of stampede would have been high, endangering human lives,” said the report.
Such measures may have harmed innocent lawyers, judicial officers, litigants, journalists and other innocent by-standers, pointed out police “Hence, a conscious decision was taken to go in for minimum collateral damage as any such prescribed crowd dispersal measures would have led to unnecessary confrontation…,” it added.
The report noted that a few objects were hurled at members of various groups as well as the lawyers who had been sent there by the Supreme Court. “This was coupled with liberal dosage of abusive language,” said the report, adding that 10 policemen were injured in an assault by some lawyers.
2 FIRs registered
Delhi Police have registered two cases, including one on charges of robbery, against “unknown persons” in connection with the violence in Patiala House Courts complex Wednesday. One FIR is based on a complaint filed by a lawyer, who was allegedly beaten up by a group of men dressed in black robes, while the second case pertains to the assault on JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar.