Arrested activists to be kept under house arrest, rules SC
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered all five activists arrested on Tuesday in near-simultaneous raids, will be kept under house-arrest till September 6. Notably, Romila Thapar, Prabhat Patnaik, Satish Deshpande and others had moved the top court after the arrests of these activists on allegations of links with Naxals. The petitioners had demanded a stay on the arrests and asked for an independent probe.
Activists' alleged involvement led to Bhima Koregaon violence
The activists namely Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Gautam Navlakha were arrested and Sudha Bharadwaj was kept under house arrest. Investigating officers claimed their involvement in Elgaar Parishad function led to Bhima Koregaon violence in January this year, which resulted in the death of one and injured several others. The arrests sparked nationwide outrage with many claiming the government wanted to suppress dissent.
Dissent is safety valve of democracy, court observes
The SC bench including CJI Dipak Misra, Justice Khanwilkar and Justice Chandrachud heard the petition. The bench sent notices to Maharashtra police and government regarding the arrests and counter has to be filed by Wednesday. During the hearing, the court observed, 'Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If dissent is not allowed then the pressure cooker may burst.'
ASG Mehta asks SC to refer matter to lower courts
Opposing the petition, ASG Tushar Mehta told SC to transfer it to lower court since none of the arrested parties filed the petition. Making a case for the arrested, Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked for an interim stay. Later, he said the arrested accused can be kept in their respective homes and the court ordered accordingly.
After SC order, HC halts proceedings
Meanwhile, in the Delhi High Court transit remand of Gautam Navlakha was challenged. Delhi HC presided by J Muralidhar noted documents, even the arrest memo, was in Marathi. ASG Aman Lekhi told the HC all efforts were made to make Gautam Navlakha understand the grounds of arrest. HC halted the proceedings saying it won't be appropriate to pass any order after SC's judgement.