Keeping in view the gravity of the situation, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday asked the Centre to provide additional forces ahead of a judgment by a CBI court in a rape case against Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The High Court acting tough against Haryana for its apparent “failure” to maintain law and order, took the call ahead of the special Panchkula CBI court’s verdict on Friday.
The court’s observation came when the petitioner’s counsel Ravinder Singh Dhull said more than 1.5 lakh Dera followers have already reached Panchkula city despite prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC.
Apprehending violence in case the court’s judgment went against the sect chief on Friday, a Division Bench of acting Chief Justice Surinder Singh Saron and Justice Avneesh Jhingan said they “did not want a situation similar to the Jat reservation stir”.
Without mincing words, the judges were categorically clear in saying the High Court could initiate action against the Director General of Police in case the state failed to ensure security.
Directing the Centre through the Home Secretary to provide forces, the bench asked it to make its own assessment of the situation.
The bench asked Haryana Additional Advocate General Pawan Girdhar to intervene in the matter and also sought the assistance of Punjab Additional Advocate General P.P.S Thethi in the tense situation prevailing in both the states ahead of the CBI court verdict.
A lawyer on Wednesday moved the High Court, seeking directions to Haryana to make adequate security arrangements ahead of the pronouncement of the verdict.
A Central Bureau of Investigation court in Panchkula adjoining Chandigarh has asked the sect chief to appear in the court on August 25, when it will pronounce its judgment.
The case has been going on since 2007.
The sect chief, who has lakhs of followers in Punjab, Haryana and other states, has been accused by a former female follower of raping her more than once inside the sprawling Dera campus on the outskirts of Sirsa town in Haryana, 260 km from Chandigarh.
The Dera chief on Thursday appealed to his followers to maintain peace.