Thursday, September 1, 2011

Govt evasive on Ramdev eviction, SC told

The Supreme Court was told Monday that affidavits filed by the union home secretary and the Delhi Police chief on the June 4 eviction of yoga guru Baba Ramdev from the Ramlila ground here were evasive.

Amicus curiae Rajiv Dhawan told an apex court bench of Justice BS Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar that the affidavits left many questions unanswered.

He told the apex court bench of Justice BS Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar that the home secretary was evasive and police were not candid, indicating that their affidavits did not say whether there was a cane charge or not.

He described it as an "extremely sorry" state of affairs.

He said the crucial question was "where did the orders (for police action) came from, whether they came from the police commissioner himself or (from) above him".

It defied logic that the operation was to be carried out past mid-night, he said.

As Dhawan raised questions, the court said: "We have to go into whether the decision taken was reasonable and proportional."

The judges said that "we will go into the history (background) of the matter but we will not adjudicate it", adding that "we don't want to go into every detail".

This prompted the amicus curiae to say that it was the court which took the suo motu cognizance of the past-midnight police operation evicting Ramdev and his supporters from Ramlila ground where they were protesting against corruption.

Dhawan told the court that police action involved the fundamental right to free expression and speech, assembly and association.

Saying that the right to free speech was subject to the constraint of time and space, Dhawan said that whenever in such a situation a balance had to be struck, then it weighed in favour of the fundamental right to free expression and speech.

He said it had to be seen what deference could be given to police claim on threat perception (to Ramdev which prompted the eviction). Whether it was real or not, it had to be examined.

While directing the listing of the case Sep 30, the court asked the contending parties to exchange all the CDs relating to the June 4 police action.

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