Activists’ arrest row reaches Supreme Court, hearing later today
The petitioners want the court to stay the arrest of the activists and hold an independent inquiry. They also urged the court seek explanation from Maharashtra for “sweeping round of arrests” in the case.
The Supreme Court will Wednesday hear a petition filed by academician Romila Thapar and four rights activists challenging the arrest of five prominent activists by Pune police for alleged Maoists links after raids across five states on Tuesday.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is likely to hear the petition filed by Thapar along with Devki Jain, Prabhat Patnaik, Satish Deshpande and Maya Daruwala.
Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising appeared before the CJI when he assembled with other judges for a constitution bench hearing. Singhvi said the extraordinary situation made it necessary for him to mention the matter before a constitution bench. Since the CJI could not take up any urgent matter while he heads a constitution bench, he asked Singhvi and others to come back at 3.45 pm before a three-judge bench.
The petitioners want the court to stay the arrest of the activists and hold an independent inquiry. They also urged the court seek explanation from Maharashtra for “sweeping round of arrests” in the case, reported PTI.
Lawyer and trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj, revolutionary poet P Varavara Rao, civil rights activist and journalist Gautam Navlakha, and lawyers and activists Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy, creating fear and enmity between various groups, and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The arrests were part of an investigation into the violence that rocked Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra on January 1 during the bicentennial celebration of a British-era war.
A police team also searched the residence of Father Stan Swamy in Ranchi although he was not arrested in the absence of “evidence,” a senior official said.