Bhima-Koregaon: SC castigates Maharashtra police

The Supreme Court on Thursday castigated the Maharashtra police for addressing the media on arrests of five activists in the case of Bhima Koregaon violence, saying the senior police officer had tried to cast aspersion on the apex court for its decision on keeping the accused under house arrest.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, however, extended the period of the house arrest of the five activists till September 12.

As the court took writ petition filed by historian Romila Thapar and others, Justice Chandrachud was livid with Maharashtra ADGP, who addressed a press conference on August 30 explaining the reasons for crackdown on human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, poet Varavara Rao, and other activists Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves.

“I myself saw the press conference. He was trying to make insinuation that what SC did was wrong. You can't cast aspersion on the Supreme Court like this. He was addressing the press conference and ruining the reputation of the people,” Justice Chandrachud said.

“You must tell your officer to be in line and be more responsible,” Justice Chandrachud told Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who apologised on behalf of the police officer.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing complainant, Tushar Gangude, questioned the locus standi of the petitioners historian Thapar and others, in a criminal matter. Mehta contended the activists have themselves explored alternative remedy. He also submitted keeping the activists under house arrest would hamper the investigation.

Senior advocate Abhishek M Singhvi and others, representing the petitioners, however, pointed out one of the petitioners Satish Deshpande has been authorised by the activists to represent them and treat the instant writ petition as their own.

“The matter has to be argued with the legal parameters,” the bench said, extending the house arrest of the activists till Wednesday.

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Bhima-Koregaon: SC castigates Maharashtra police

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