Maratha protest over quota: It is free-for-all in Maharashtra, says Bombay high court

The HC was hearing separate petitions, requesting the court to monitor investigations into murders

mumbai Updated: Aug 03, 2018 00:40 IST
Mumbai,Marathas,Bombay high court
Maratha protesters recently went on a rampage near Pune.(HT)

In an indirect remark on the Maratha agitation for reservation and the resultant disturbance caused in parts of Maharashtra, the Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday said: “It is free-for-all here [in Maharashtra].”

The HC was hearing separate petitions filed by family members of anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar and CPI leader Govind Pansare requesting the court to monitor investigations into their murders.

“Currently, what is going around us is not a very pleasant sight, buses are being burnt, stones are being pelted and mobs are on roads,” said a bench of justice SC Dharmadhikari and justice Bharati Dangre.

The bench said senior officials like additional chief secretary, home, Maharashtra and joint director of the CBI’s special task force, both of whom were present in the court on Thursday, must understand the effect of failure of law and order on society. Mobs virtually issue commands to the government and then people voicing different opinions are killed in a frenzy, they said.

The bench also tried to remind senior officials of the importance of the independent role of investigation agencies. “There is something like a state and there something like a government,” said the bench.

“Government of the day will come and go, but what about the state,” the bench asked. Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013, while the CPI leader was shot in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015 and succumbed to injuries four days later. While the CBI is probing the Dabholkar murder, a special investigating team of the state police is investigating Pansare’s killing.

On Thursday, the bench also expressed utter displeasure over probes carried out so far in both the cases. “We are not at all impressed with this,” said the bench after perusing a sealed report submitted by the SIT and the CBI indicating progress in investigations being conducted by them. “This is not the way investigations are conducted,” the bench said, commenting on the contents of the reports. “This is inefficient handling of very sensitive cases,” they said, adding, “We don’t think there is any progress in the investigation.”

The bench will hear the petitions on September 6.

First Published: Aug 03, 2018 00:39 IST