Cops vs Lawyers: Why Delhi police remembered Kiran Bedi? Here's what happened in 1988
New Delhi, Nov 06: With loud chants of 'Kiran Bedi lao, Delhi Police bachao', Thousands of Delhi Police personnel were seen protesting outside at its Headquarters in ITO over Tis Hazari court clashes. Delhi police commissioner Amulya Patnaik was met by defiance on Tuesday by his very own force as the placards recalled the 31-year-old incident and the role of the former IPS officer Kiran Bedi when a similar event happened in Delhi in 1988 during a police-lawyer clash.
When Patnaik addressed the agitating cops and appealed them to keep calm, he was booed by personnel with the slogans and placards of Kiran Bedi's pictures with the caption "We need you".
The reason for the police personnel remembering Kiran Bedi, the first woman Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, is rooted to a similar incident that happened 31 years ago, i.e on February 17, 1988 incident at Tis Hazari Court Complex.
The incident of a scuffle between police and lawyers in 2019 is not new in Delhi. In 1988, Bedi had backed the police force and had a face-off with lawyers, who were protesting the handcuffing of an advocate on suspicion of theft.
The dispute started with a case of theft at St. Stephen's College, the University of Delhi where a cop handcuffed a lawyer as a suspect, at the college campus. This led to a massive protest by lawyers in Delhi against Kiran Bedi. Lawyers argued that handcuffing any accused without judicial consent and the subsequent High Court directions to police, is illegal.
Several clashes broke out between Delhi police personnel and lawyers during the protest. In one such incident on 21 January 1988, 18 lawyers were injured. The case took a severe turn with this and lawyers of various courts of Delhi started opposing Kiran Bedi. The lawyers then, alleged a crowd of over 3,000 people broke into the Tis Hazari court complex and vandalised several things in chambers of the lawyers. They alleged that the crowd did this at the behest of Kiran Bedi.
After this incident lawyers started demanding Kiran Bedi's suspension. A month later on 20 February 1988, another clash broke out between police personnel and lawyers near Kiran Bedi's office. A Judicial Committee was set up to investigate the entire case. Kiran Bedi appeared before the committee and stated that the lawyers had pushed a female cop and abused her. She stood firm in the support of Delhi Police department.
Clearly, in their slogans of "We need you," Delhi Police personnel are seeking a leader who would put their demands as strongly as Bedi.
Kiran Bedi is considered to be one of the most efficient commissioner in the history of Delhi Police, who stood by the police department in difficult times and brought major reforms in the system. She is also known as 'Crane Bedi' for ordering the towing away of former prime minister Indira Gandhi's car from Delhi's Connaught Place area in 1982. Bedi is now the lieutenant governor of Puducherry.
About Tis Hazari court clash:
A violent scuffle took place between Delhi police and lawyers at the Tis Hazari court over the parking issue on Saturday evening. The tension between police personnel and lawyers had been building up since Saturday, which injured at least 20 security personnel and several advocates.
The senior police officials assured the protesters their full support. Protesters were also assured that investigation was being carried out the incidents of violence against their colleagues. Ex gratia of Rs 25,000 was also announced by the senior police officers.
In the November 3 order, the high court had also ordered a judicial inquiry by one of its retired judges into the clash and transfer of two senior police officials during pendency of the investigation. Delhi High Court transferred two officers and suspended two others over Saturday's clash.