New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Pune police to keep the five accused activists under house arrest till September 5, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, held that all the accused persons will be put under house arrest, till September 5. The matter would be taken up for hearing on September 6.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the advocate appearing for one of the petitioners in the case, told the apex court that the FIR has no mention of five people in the case and that all the accused persons cooperated during the investigation.
Tushar Mehta, a senior lawyer appearing for the Maharashtra government, opposed the petitions of the accused activists seeking relief in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Countering this, Singhvi said that “we talk of liberty at seminars and look at the real picture, and sought relief in the case for the accused persons.”
Rajeev Dhawan, a senior lawyer appearing for one of the other petitioners, submitted that the arrest is illegal and arbitrary.
“The arrest was done randomly, and it is illegal,” Dhavan said.
The apex court issued notices to the Maharashtra Government and other parties and sought a detailed reply from them by September 5.
The apex court, during the course of the hearing, observed dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If dissent is not allowed then the pressure cooker may burst, the court said.
Dhawan also submitted that “if these social activists are arrested randomly, then anybody can be arrested, I may also be arrested.”
On Tuesday, the Pune police conducted raids in Mumbai, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Faridabad, Delhi and Thane, with informed sources telling ANI that Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Gonsalves and Sudha Bhardwaj were the activists arrested for allegedly triggering violence which broke out in January during the bicentennial celebration of the battle of Bhima Koregaon.
The Bhima Koregaon violence erupted while celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in January this year. A youth died and several others, including 10 security personnel, were injured in the violence.