SC junks review plea against arrests of activists

Last Updated 27 October 2018, 09:08 IST

The Supreme Court has declined to review its judgement of September 28, that had dismissed a plea by historian Romila Thapar to intervene into the arrest of five activists by Maharashtra police into the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said no case for review of the judgement was made out.

The review petition was filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of Thapar and others against the judgement, delivered by majority view of 2:1.

"We have perused the review petition as well as the grounds in support thereof. In our opinion, no case for review of judgment dated 28th September 2018 is made out. The review petition is accordingly dismissed," the bench said.

The order passed on Friday was released on Saturday. It had also rejected a plea for the open court hearing in the matter.

The review petitions are considered by the same combination of the bench in the judge's chamber sans counsel, according to the Supreme Court Rules.

But here, the matter was considered by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, apart from Justices Khanwilkar and Chandrachud, as then CJI, Dipak Misra who was a part of the previous bench, had since retired.

The top court had then directed that its interim order passed on August 29 for keeping the five activists, namely, Gautam Navalakha, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves under house arrest would continue for four weeks, to enable them to approach the appropriate court.

The court had then said the arrests of activists across the country was not a case of merely expressing dissenting views or difference in political ideology but was related to their links with the members of the banned organisation and its activities.

But Justice Chandrachud differed with the majority view of then CJI Misra and Justice Khanwilkar, by favouring a probe by an SIT into the arrests, saying it would be blasé to accept the submission by the Maharashtra police that the investigation should be allowed to proceed without a safeguard for ensuring the impartiality and independence of the investigative agency.

He said voices in opposition cannot be muzzled by persecuting those who take up unpopular causes as dissent is a symbol of a vibrant democracy.

(Published 27 October 2018, 08:41 IST)

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