With followers of Dera Sacha Sauda thronging Panchkula city despite imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday not only pulled up the Haryana government for failing to control the congregation but also directed the government to make some firm efforts to ensure that the Dera followers return to their homes.

Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) which has been filed seeking directions for the states of Haryana and Punjab for adequate security arrangements in Panchkula and adjoining areas ahead of the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court’s verdict in a case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the HC slammed the Haryana government for letting the Dera followers to assemble at Panchkula in large numbers causing inconvenience for the local residents.

The Full Bench of the HC comprising Acting Chief Justice SS Saron, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Avneesh Jhingan has also directed the Centre to ensure that the additional forces sought by the states of Haryana and Punjab, reach by the night or Friday morning. It has also been directed to keep army on standby in case of emergency.

Moreover, SK Garg Narwana, advocate appeared on behalf of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, also assured the HC that the Dera chief would appeal his followers to maintain the peace and return to their homes.

The HC Bench orally observed that the state government failed to stop the assembly of the Dera followers at Panchkula while the government officials remained mute spectators.

The Bench also observed that it was the lack of will power of the government that has encouraged the Dera followers to camp at Panchkula in such large numbers.

The Bench further said that the residents of Panchkula have the right to live and to live in dignified manner and it is the duty of the state government to ensure it.

On efforts elaborated by the state government, the HC Bench remarked that government’s fresh efforts are nothing but postmortem of the situation that has been created by the government by allowing the crowd happened at Panchkula.

The Full Bench will now take up the matter on August 25.

The PIL has been filed by an advocate Ravinder Singh Dhull seeking directions for both Haryana and Punjab to make adequate security arrangements especially in the District of Panchkula and surrounding areas wherein the special CBI Court is likely to pronounce the judgment in the criminal trial of Dera chief on August 25.

The petitioner has also prayed the HC to monitor the security arrangements as despite after prohibitory orders under Section 144; more than 1.5 lakh people have allegedly entered in Panchkula district.The sect head was booked by the CBI in 2002 for allegedly sexually exploiting the female followers at Dera. The case was registered on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after anonymous letters were circulated about alleged sexual exploitation of female followers.

The sect head was booked by the CBI in 2002 for allegedly sexually exploiting the female followers at Dera. The case was registered on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after anonymous letters were circulated about alleged sexual exploitation of female followers.