Taking note of the 'mockery of judicial system' made by Rohtak resident Ram Kumar Dhaka and members of his organisation by laying siege to the Hisar court premises in August during a criminal case trial against their religious preacher Rampal of Satlok Ashram, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday made it clear that Rampal would have to be present in the court on November 5.
During the contempt case hearing, the division bench comprising justice M Jeyapaul and justice Deepak Sibal also directed the high court registry to communicate court orders through Rohtak district and sessions judge to ensure the presence of Rashtriya Samaj Seva Committee president Ram Kumar Dhaka and his advocate RS Hooda in the court on Tuesday at 10 am. The Rohtak DC and SSP have to ensure court order's compliance.
In a letter addressed by Dhaka to the Chandigarh administration on October 21, it was informed that on November 5 around 1 lakh followers of Rampal would come to the high court for the hearing and the Chandigarh administration should make adequate arrangements for them. On this, the court said, "It is atrocious communication to UT when we have called him and he says he is coming with one lakh people."
The court also suggested the Chandigarh administration impose Section 144 in the city at least for 2-3 hours on November 5. The court also cleared that the court had only summoned Sant Rampal and other 55 persons of the organisation.
The court also directed the Punjab as well as Haryana's advocate general to come out with a proposal on Tuesday for providing adequate police force for deploying in Chandigarh to maintain law and order on November 5 when Rampal is to remain present in high court.
Attempt to overawe court
Amicus curiae, senior advocate appointed by court to assist in the case, Anupam Gupta averred, "Letter (Dhaka's) itself verges on the contumacious. It is a clear attempt of overawe the court, the judicial machinery and the state apparatus."
Gupta added that "the court must call the bluff". He argued that under no circumstances shall the court adjourn the case hearing beyond November 5 as decided "for that would seriously damage the credibility of the court and give the impression that it has succumbed to blackmail." He also submitted that far more serious challenges of law and order had been confronted by the state governments and central government in different parts of the country.
"The numerical ratio between policemen on duty and crowd is always weighted heavily in favour of the crowd. But given the will, even a single policeman in uniform can hold a large crowd at bay," Gupta submitted.
On Monday, after being summoned by the court, the advocate generals of Punjab and Haryana as well as Chandigarh's senior standing counsel suggested the court that it would be ideal that Rampal and other contemnors in the case should assemble at one point on Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh's border. From there they should be transported in a common vehicle to the high court escorted by Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana police personnel.