CHANDIGARH: If followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh are found involved in causing loss to public and private properties, the damages will be recovered from Dera Sacha Sauda, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled today while noting that the situation had "worsened".
The full bench of the court, which will hear the matter again tomorrow, asked the dera to submit the list of assets and properties which can be attached "in case it is found that they and their followers are reponsible for damaging properties."
The bench comprising Acting Chief Justice SS Saron, justices Surya Kant and Avneesh Jhingan took a serious view of the situation that has emerged.
"Whosoever has been instigating and inciting the crowd that has gathered to commit the acts of arson and violence they would be sternly dealt with," it said.
"The damages that are caused to public and private properties shall be recovered from them," the bench observed.
It said it has been reported by some of members of the Bar that they have been informed that police have been running from places where incidents of violence had occurred.
The police ran away on the arrival of paramilitary forces, the bench said it was informed.
"Police officials, if any, who are responsible for this should be taken to task," the court ordered while hearing a PIL.
It directed Advocate General of Haryana Baldev Raj Mahajan to verify this position and submit a report in this regard and in case anybody had run away the name of that officer or official shall be submitted in the court.
It also directed Haryana AG and his Punjab couterpart Atul Nanda to obtain the status report regarding law and order situation from each district and submit it before the court tomorrow.
The bench directed the governments of Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh to ensure that peace and law and order are maintained at all costs.
"There shall be no lapse on the part of police officials in performing their duties. Any officers found wanting in performing their duties would be sternly dealt," it ordered.
Earlier, ahead of the Panchkula special CBI court’s verdict in the rape case against Ram Rahim, the court had ordered that security forces should not hesitate from using "mighty force" to maintain law and order in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
"Security forces should not shy from using weapons. No mischief monger has the right to disrupt peace, police force must be communicated," said the full bench.
Speaking for the bench, justice Kant made it clear, "we do not want police to be beaten up by them (dera followers) as has been observed in the past in other cases."
At the same time, the court ordered if any politician, minister or social organization indulges in provocative statements, the concerned authorities should immediately register FIR against them and criminal action must be started.
Justice Saron observed that given the circumstances, there could be attempts of self-immolation and such acts cannot be done without any instigation.
Hence the court made it clear, "Instigation is an offence and we would warn each and everyone that if anyone would indulge in such activities, there would be serious consequences."
Additional Solicitor General of India Satya Pal Jain informed the court that 40 more para-military companies have been provided to Haryana by withdrawing some of the companies from Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat.
Advocate General of Haryana then said out of these, 35 companies have reached Haryana.
Appearing for the Chandigarh administration, senior standing counsel RS Rai apprised the court that all 38 entry and exit points of Chandigarh have been sanitized.
The court also told the police that videography should be made at all points and in case of any untoward incident, video recordings should be placed before the court.