Delhi police and lawyers clash at Tis Hazari: Kiran Bedi says cops must stand their grounds, refers to her actions in controversial 1988 faceoff with advocates

  • Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi on Tuesday advised Delhi Police to remain firm on its stand on Saturday's police-lawyers clash at Tis Hazari court come what may.

  • Bedi, a former IPS officer of 1972 batch who retired in the rank of DGP, said during the 1988 police-lawyers clashes at Tis Hazari, wherein she was DCP (North) then, there were demands from the advocates associations for her suspension and arrest

  • But the then police commissioner Ved Marwah strongly supported her and rejected the demands, she said.

Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi on Tuesday advised Delhi Police to remain firm on its stand over Saturday's clash between lawyers and police officials at Tis Hazari court come what may. Reacting to the incident, she told PTI that she faced a similar situation in January 1988 when a lawyer arrested for theft in St. Stephen's college was brought to the Tis Hazari court in handcuffs.

"But I remained firm and refused to budge to the demand of the lawyers seeking suspension/arrest of the cops responsible for handcuffing the advocate," she said, adding that the person did not identify himself as an advocate at the time of his arrest and also gave a different name to the police.

 Delhi police and lawyers clash at Tis Hazari: Kiran Bedi says cops must stand their grounds, refers to her actions in controversial 1988 faceoff with advocates

File image of Kiran Bedi. Reuters

"When policemen and women perform their duty fairly, firmly, fearlessly and responsibly, they need to be protected by their seniors. More so when their actions are open to full enquiry, always, which is why the police departments have exclusive departments of vigilance and departmental enquiries. Hence it is the duty of the department itself to scrutinise their acts of omission and commision in a rigorous manner," Bedi said adding that it is the duty of senior officers to predict the force's dignity.

"All police acts can be categorised as mala fide or bona fide. This is why disputed actions require urgent inquiry. But not premature humiliation in any form. It hurts them and self respect of their families. Most of all their children. Police leadership needs to be sensitive to this. Such actions are the defining moments of police leadership...." Bedi said in a statement.

In the present incident too, the "Delhi Police should take a stand and be firm on it come what may", she said.

Earlier, protesting cops had raised slogans referring to Bedi, who was embroiled in a similar controversy win faceoff with lawyers. The personnel raised chants of 'humara CP kaisa ho, Kiran Bedi jaisa ho' (What should our Commissioner of Police be like? The CP should be like Kiran Bedi) during Tuesday's protests.

Bedi, a former IPS officer of 1972 batch who retired in the rank of DGP, said during the 1988 police-lawyers clashes at Tis Hazari, wherein she was DCP (North) then, there were demands from the advocates associations for her suspension and arrest. But the then police commissioner Ved Marwah strongly supported her and rejected the demands, she said.

It all began on 15 January, 1988, when the police arrested the lawyer for theft of a purse of a girl student in St. Stephen's college. When he was produced before the magistrate at Tis Hazari court with handcuff, the fellow lawyers who identified him took strong objections and demanded his immediate release and action against the police officers.

The protests went on for so many days and on Jan.21, 1988, there was a police lathi-charge on the lawyers who tried to gate crash into the office of DCP (North) situated then in the court premises.

The protests continued and on 17 February, 1988, a group of about 3,000 outsiders stormed the court premises and attacked the advocates and damaged their vehicles/properties. The lawyers blamed Bedi as being responsible for both the incidents — for ordering baton charge and engineering the attack by outsiders.

In the baton charge, 18 lawyers were injured. While the lawyers accused police of using excessive force against them, Bedi said the lawyers had stormed her office, shouting obscenities and threatening to rip her clothes off, and that the police had used reasonable force in repelling them.

Later, the government set up a commission of inquiry headed by the then Delhi High Court Judge DP Wadhwa to go into the clashes. The commission concluded that the lawyer's arrest for theft was "justified" but termed his hand-cuffing "illegal". It also described the subsequent police action as "indiscriminate and unjustified" and criticised Bedi for "not telling the truth."

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Nov 06, 2019 12:10:04 IST