Coming down heavily on the State and Delhi Police, the Supreme Court ordered prosecution of police personnel involved in the mid-night crack down on the yoga guru Ramdev and his supporters in June last year saying it was a strike at the foundation of democracy.
Observing that it was a glaring example of trust deficit between the people and the government, the court also blamed Ramdev, who was on an anti-corruption fast along with his followers at Ramlilla Maidan, for the violence.
It was a reflection of the might of the State which struck at the foundation of democracy, a bench of justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said while reading out the operative part of the judgement on Thursday.
The court said that it was a case of police excess and the police who are meant to bring peace had themselves breached the peace.The bench further observed that 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 that police action is meant to bring peace but they breached peace themselves.
Blaming both Ramdev and the Delhi Police, the court directed criminal prosecution of police personnel and Ramdev’s supporters who had behaved violently during the incident.
The bench said that the policemen had assaulted sleeping victims. 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 five lakh for the family members of Raj Bala, who had died in the incident. Twenty five percent of the amount would come from Ramdev’s trust.
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 apex court passed the verdict after taking 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 4th to 5th June last year during his anti-corruption agitation. The bench had reserved the verdict on 20th January.
Ramdev had alleged that 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 along with his followers against corruption and demanding that the UPA government must make sincere efforts to bring back black money illegally parked in foreign bank accounts by tax evaders.
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.