SC Gives Green Signal To Maharashtra Police For Going Ahead With Probe Against Five Activities

INDIA’s Supreme has made clear that it will not interfere with the arrest of five rights activists by Maharashtra Police in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence case in Maharashtra’s Pune District and declined to appoint a SIT for probe their arrest. The three-judge Bench headed by retiring Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in a 2:1 verdict, refused the plea seeking the immediate release of the activists put under house arrest by the SC. Justice A M Khanwilkar read out the verdict for himself and the CJI on Friday, while Justice D Y Chandrachud said he was unable to agree with view of the two judges. Justice Chandrachud said arrest of the five accused was an attempt by state to muzzle dissent. The majority verdict said the protection of house arrest shall remain in force for four weeks to enable the accused to seek appropriate legal remedy at appropriate legal forum. The CJI said arrests were not because of dissent of activists but there was prima facie material to show their link with banned CPI (Maoists) organization. Justice Khanwilkar said accused persons cannot choose which investigating agency should probe the case and this was not a case of arrest merely because of difference in political views. The majority verdict disagreed with the PIL by historian Romila Thapar, who is also Emeritus Professor in the Jawaharlal University,  and others seeking the immediate release of five rights activist, with liberty to the accused to seek remedy in appropriate court. Justice Khanwilkar said the protection of house arrest shall remain in force for another four weeks to enable the accused to seek legal remedy. He refrained from commenting on the case saying it may prejudice case of accused and prosecution. Justice Chandrachud said liberty cherished by the Constitution would have no meaning if persecution of the five activists is allowed without proper investigation. Reacting to the verdict, ruling BJP claims vindication of its stand that the accused were hobnobbing with the banned ultra leftist outfit attacking and trying to sabotage national integrity and unity and said the main opposition, Congress, was calling them activists. The AICC said the investigation should be conducted impartially and professionally and not as per BJP’s whims and fancies(pic courtesy to Live Law)

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