The Supreme Court has extended the house arrest for the five rights activists, accused of Maoist links, till September 19, when it will hear a petition seeking their release. During the hearing on Monday, the government opposed what it called the Supreme Court's interference in the case.
“Every case can't come to the Supreme Court. It is a wrong procedure. Then every case will come to the Supreme Court,” said the government lawyer to the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Mishra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.
"We have to see police documents. We may cancel the case here if there's nothing. If it calls for our interference, we will look into it," the top court bench said.
“We are not going to any extreme propagation, but wanted to see whether the case is connected to Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) or article 32 of the Indian Constitution,” observed CJI Dipak Misra.
“The case is not just about dissent. We have proof of serious offenses. We have videographed every raid,” said Maninder Singh, the Additional Solicitor General before the bench.
Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, and Gautam Navlakha were were arrested by the Pune police for their alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence that broke out in December last year. The arrest had sparked that sparked a multitude of outraged protests from human rights defenders.
The petition by historian Romila Thapar and four others has challenged the arrest of these five activists.
Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, and Gautam Navlakha were were arrested by the Pune police for their alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence that broke out in December last year. The arrest had sparked that sparked a multitude of outraged protests from human rights defenders
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is representing the petitioners said the five activists were not present at the Elgar Parishad and pointed out that two former Supreme Court judges and a former High Court judge attended the event.
The Supreme Court had earlier questioned the Maharashtra police's move to arrest the activists and said all of them were reputed citizens and "stifling the dissent" was not good.
Additional solicitor general, appearing for the Central government, has argued that the menace of Maoists and Naxalites "is increasing day by day". He added said the accused are those responsible for the increasing threat of anti-social activities.