Retired judge BG Kolse-Patil has moved the Bombay high court challenging his prosecution for purportedly breaching prohibitory orders and entering Ratnagiri district to participate in protests against the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant.
Kolse-Patil also sought exemplary compensation from the government for “deliberately prosecuting him on false and concocted charges and subjecting him to mental and physical torture”. His petition will come up for hearing after summer vacation, said assistant public prosecutor Madhavi Mhatre.
“The police, at the instance [sic] of state machinery, let loose terrorism and have become a law unto themselves,” the retired judge’s petition filed through advocate Vishwajit Sawant said. “The respondents [the state and the police] are behaving as if there is undeclared emergency in the state suspending relevant provisions of the Constitution of India postulating rights of citizens.”
“There is utter lawlessness and the respondents are prepared to go any length to suppress peaceful agitation of local villages in support of their just and legitimate demands,” it said.
On December 4, 2010, Ratnagiri police had arrested the former high court judge when he alighted at a jetty near Pangare village to participate in the jail bharo andolan declared by villagers protesting against the nuclear plant. He was arrested for alleged breach of an order prohibiting him from entering Ratnagiri district.
The next day, when the 68-year-old was produced before a magistrate at Rajapur the police enhanced the charges to instigating violence and damaging property, though the arrest was made only for committing breach of prohibitory order. He had to spend four days in custody before he was granted bail by a sessions court on December 8.
Kolse-Patil has contended that the prohibitory order was served upon him on December 4, and the police arrested him despite him offering to return.
Kolse-Patil has sought permission from the high court to enter into Ratnagiri district and participate in the peaceful agitations against the nuclear power plant.