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Mirchpur violence: Supreme Court pulls up Haryana govt

The Supreme Court pulled up the Haryana government for its failure to maintain law and order.

Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 20:48 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Haryana government for its failure to maintain law and order and asked why it should not reimburse the railways for the losses caused by the Jats` blockade in January against the arrest of members of the community who attacked Dalits in Mirchpur village last April.

The court slammed the government for not executing its orders passed in the wake of the protests.

An apex court bench of Justice GS Singhvi and Justice AK Ganguly said: "What is the respect of an order passed (by court) in public interest if it is not honoured."

When Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval said that the failure of the state government in maintaining law and order would amount to the breakdown of the law and order machinery, the court said it was "avoiding" using that expression.

Raval said that there should be a will to govern and rule, prompting the court to add that things were slowly moving towards a state of anarchy.

The court said that it was for the civil society to take cognizance of the situation.

The court`s observation came during the hearing on a petition on the attack on the Dalit locality of Mirchpur village by the members of the dominant Jat community. A 70-year-old man and his 18-year-old physically challenged daughter were killed in the incident.

The members of the Jat community embarked on 11-day road and rail blockade after 98 people belonging to the community were booked for arson and killing in Mirchpur village in Hisar district, some 300 km from Chandigarh.

The call for the blockade was given by the mahapanchayat of 12 khaps (caste councils) in January.

Expressing displeasure over the manner in which the Haryana government had handled the situation, the court asked the state why it should not reimburse the losses suffered by the railways during the agitation.

"Why should not the state reimburse the railways for the loss suffered by it in the course of the agitation? They (Jats) can`t destroy public property or stop railways from operating," the court said.

Hauling up the state government on its handling of the Jat agitation, the court said: "So far air traffic has not been affected but a day may come when such a disruption of air traffic may take place."

The judges also wanted the state government to address the question as to what is the extent of a "peaceful agitation".

The court said that there was no limit to the power of the state when a group of agitators in the name of peaceful agitation illegally block rail and road traffic.

The judges said this after Haryana`s Advocate General H.S. Hooda submitting that there was a limit to the exercise of power by the state in dealing with a peaceful agitation.