Ram Rahim Singh sentencing: Punjab and Haryana High Court has said the remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Manohar Lal Khattar were quoted out of context by media. During a special hearing on August 26 on the violence in Panchkula in the wake of the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Acting Chief Justice S S Saron said, “National integration and law and order are above everything. We are one nation, not a party nation. Politicians need to understand that the nation is one. It is the Prime Minister of India, not BJP. It is the Chief Minister of the state, not BJP. You (Satya Pal Jain) are Additional Solicitor General of India, not of any party.” Yesterday Justice Saron told Additional Solicitor General of India Satya Pal Jain his statement was taken out of context and “it was not intentional”, according to Indian Express report.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had also said the mayhem caused by followers of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh last Friday was a “war-like situation” which had to be tackled accordingly and gave a slew of directions in the matter. The court directed Punjab and Haryana governments to set up Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of three officers, headed by an officer not below the rank of an Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), to investigate all the cases registered at various places in connection with the Dera violence.
The remarks by the Acting Chief Justice yesterday drew sharp reaction from senior advocate Anupam Gupta who was an amicus curiae in the Jat agitation case before a Division bench of Justice Saron and Justice Avneesh Jhingan. Gupta said: “This is a sign of weakness. PM is not above law. My Lords are entitled to their opinion. Is PM Modi’s persona larger than the Court?” said Gupta. “Media is not the culprit here. Journalists were beaten. They were reporting from the ground.”
Amid arguments and counter-arguments between Jain and Gupta, Justice Saron said the court’s intention is to stay away from anything which is political. “We are afraid of no one. Don’t misquote our observations. Quote what we write in the orders…rest is the general discussion. They (media) have to do it with responsibility,” he said.