The Supreme Court today criticised the Delhi Police and yoga guru Ramdev for the violent midnight incident at the Ramlila Maidan last year and said it was a “glaring example of trust deficit” between the people and the government.
A bench of justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said the incident displayed the might of the state which ”struck at the foundation of democracy”.
The bench further observed the police and the state could have avoided that tragic incident in which one person died and several others were injured.
“It is a glaring example of trust deficit between the people governing and the people being governed,” the bench said,adding police action is meant to bring peace but they breached peace themselves.
The apex court blamed both Ramdev and the Delhi Police for the midnight crackdown at Ramlila Maidan last year and directed criminal prosecution of police personnel and Ramdev’s supporters who had behaved violently during the incident.
The bench said the cops had assaulted sleeping victims and the police and the state could have avoided the violent incident.
There was abuse of power by the Delhi Police and fundamental rights of people were violated,the bench said.
The court awarded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for family members of Raj Bala,who died in the incident.
The bench also awarded a compensation of Rs 50,000 for those who suffered grievous injuries in the incident and Rs 25,000 for those with simple injuries. The court also asked Ramdev’s trust to pay 25 per cent of the compensation to the kin of the dead and those grievously hurt.
The apex court had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports showing brutality of police action against the sleeping followers of Ramdev,including women and children at Ramlila Maidan on the midnight of June 4 last year during his anti-corruption agitation. The bench had reserved the verdict on January 20.
Ramdev had alleged the police action was carried out on the instructions of their political masters and demanded action against all people who had directed the crackdown.
Ramdev was agitating against corruption and was demanding the UPA government make sincere efforts to bring back blackmoney illegally parked in foreign bank accounts.
The Delhi Police,however,claimed Ramdev had instigated his followers to indulge in violence,forcing the police to act at that time of the night.
The Supreme Court did not absolve Ramdev’s followers either,stating anyone liable of criminal offence should face the rap. A chargesheet should be filed against followers and police officers in three months,the court ruled.
The court slammed those cops who used excessive force and also those who acted beyond their authority — irrespective of rank. It also held criminally liable officers who were present but did not help to calm the crowds.